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xTechSBIR Autonomy Finalist Open Topic Competition


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Autonomy; Advanced Materials OBJECTIVE: xTechSBIR Autonomy is seeking novel capabilities and technology solutions within the Autonomy space, that can assist in tackling the Army’s current and future needs, enabling new capabilities, improved performance, faster production, or cost savings for Army systems. Examples of technologies that address the issue include but are not limited to the following domains: • Novel Materials for Additive Manufacturing – The U.S. Army is interested in enabling technologies that could replace conventional subtractive production methods. Novel feedstocks and 3D printable materials can be used to produce parts more with increased efficiency and superior performance. • Future Additive Production Capabilities – The U.S. Army is seeking novel and unique additive production technologies. These may include revolutionary production capabilities, or improved processes that can increase efficiency to reduce cost, waste, and production time. • Additive Production Systems & Analysis – The U.S. Army is interested in solutions to produce parts through additive manufacturing with improved efficiency, reliability, and quality. These technologies may include: • Manufacturing Equipment for Expeditionary Environments – The U.S. Army manufacturers parts in harsh environments including deserts, high altitude locations, and the Arctic. Such environments may be remote with limited logistical support, and may experience high humidity, dust, sand, and temperatures below -50C. Expeditionary production equipment must survive being stored in extreme environments and may also be required to operate in difficult conditions. • Advanced and Convergent Manufacturing Capabilities - The U.S. Army is also interested in novel non-additive production methods and hybrid/convergent manufacturing capabilities that combine additive and subtractive processes. • Advanced Materials – The U.S. Army is seeking research and development in the areas of novel advanced materials. There is particular interest in materials that exhibit improved strength, durability, and performance at both extremely low and high temperatures. A wide variety of applications for advanced materials include personnel protection, aerospace, avionics, and hypersonic systems. DESCRIPTION: The U.S. Army would like to invite interested entities to participate in the xTech Small Business Innovation Research Autonomy competition, an opportunity for eligible small businesses to engage and pitch their novel technology solutions directly to the Department of Defense, earn prize money and potentially receive a Phase I SBIR award of up to $250,000 each. The Army recognizes that the DoD must enhance engagements with eligible small businesses, by: (1) understanding the spectrum of ‘world-class’ technologies being developed commercially that may benefit the DoD in the autonomy space; (2) integrating the sector of non-traditional innovators into the DoD Science and Technology (S&T) ecosystem; and (3) providing expertise and feedback to accelerate, mature, and transition technologies of interest to the DoD. The xTechSBIR Autonomy competition will consist of four-rounds: (1) Call for concept white papers; (2) Final Technology Pitch event; (3) Request for Phase I SBIR Proposal Submission; and (4) Request for Phase II SBIR Demonstration. The competition will be awarding up to $500,000 in cash prizes to select eligible entities throughout the competition. Ultimately, up to 20 winners will be selected from the technology pitch event round and will be invited to submit an application for a potential Phase I SBIR Proposal worth up to $250,000. Up to 20 companies will be selected to receive a Phase I SBIR award and then will be invited back after six months of award to conduct a live demonstration to a key panel of DoD experts. Details on the prize structure and phases, are listed in this announcement below. In addition to non-dilutive cash prizes, participants will have the opportunity to engage with U.S. DoD and winners from the Part 1: Concept White Paper round will be invited to conduct an in-person pitch at Grace’s Quarters in Maryland. The efforts described in this notice are being pursued under the authorities of 10 U.S.C. § 4025 (formerly 2374a, Prizes for Advanced Technology Achievements) to award cash prizes as described in this announcement and potential SBIR contracts (15 U.S. Code §638) to only those eligible and selected entities as described in this announcement. In addition, 10 U.S.C. § 4003 (Prototype Projects) can be utilized to award additional follow-on contracts for additional proof-of-concept or prototype development. While the authority of this program is 10 U.S.C. § 4025, the xTechSBIR Autonomy competition may generate interest by another U.S. Army, DoD or USG organization for a funding opportunity outside of this event. The interested organization may contact the participant to provide additional information which may or may not result in partnership opportunities. PHASE I: Companies will complete a feasibility study that demonstrates the firm’s competitive technical advantage relative to other commercial products (if other products exist) and develop concept plans for how the company’s technology can be applied to Army modernization priority areas. Studies should clearly detail and identify a firm’s technology at both the individual component and system levels, provide supporting literature for technical feasibility, highlight existing performance data, showcase the technology’s application opportunities to a broad base of customers outside the defense space, a market strategy for the commercial space, how the technology directly addresses the Army’s modernization area as well as include a technology development roadmap to demonstrate scientific and engineering viability. At the end of Phase I, the company will be required to provide a concept demonstration of their technology to demonstrate a high probability that continued design and development will result in a Phase II mature product. PHASE II: Produce prototype solutions that will be easy to operate by a Soldier. These products will be provided to select Army units for further evaluation by the soldiers. In addition, companies will provide a technology transition and commercialization plan for DOD and commercial markets. PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Complete the maturation of the company’s technology developed in Phase II to TRL 6/7 and produce prototypes to support further development and commercialization. The Army will evaluate each product in a realistic field environment and provide small solutions to stakeholders for further evaluation. Based on soldier evaluations in the field, companies will be requested to update the previously delivered prototypes to meet final design configuration. REFERENCES: KEYWORDS: autonomy; manufacturing; additive manufacturing; xTech; xTechSBIR; 3D printing; additive fabrication; direct digital manufacturing; freeform fabrication; solid freeform fabrication; rapid manufacturing; rapid prototyping; expeditionary manufacturing; convergent manufacturing; additive production; advanced materials; advanced manufacturing; advanced manufacturing;
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