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Detection and Geolocation of Signals of Interest Given Distributed End-User Devices


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software; Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Integrated Network System-of-Systems; Human-Machine Interfaces


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) is developing a protocol to leverage the sensing capacity of general-purpose end-user devices distributed on the battlefield, considering factors such as device duty cycle, power and resource constraints, sensor capability, and geographic and relative position. The objective of this SBIR topic is twofold: 1. to develop client-side algorithms to exploit the sensors available on a modern smartphone (such as the Samsung Tactical Edition commonly used as an Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) end-user device) to detect signals of interest and/or anomalous signals such as GPS jammers/spoofers, small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS), cell signal jammers, gunshots, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth and 2. to develop server-side (or distributed) algorithms to fuse reports from client devices in order to accurately geolocate the source of identified signal or signals.


DESCRIPTION: Modern smartphones are powerful, general-purpose compute devices that provide low-level access to an array of sophisticated sensors for connecting to radio-frequency (RF) systems, reporting on movement, recording audio/video, and other modalities. Increasingly, these devices are positioned on the battlefield and have immediate access to operationally relevant data and signals. This topic aims to capitalize on this underutilized potential, prompting the development of client capabilities to better sense the environment and server capabilities to better reason over edge sensor reports. New development under this SBIR will tie directly into AFRL's effort to develop a distributed sensor tasking protocol to enable such technologies. Awardees under this topic will be given access to beta releases and supporting data for the new protocol, as well as APKs, SDKs, documentation, supporting frameworks, and developer expertise for the Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) ecosystem, including ATAK, iTAK, and TAK Server.


PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the applicant(s) to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior or ongoing SBIR/STTR funding agreement. Applicant(s) are expected to provide detail and documentation in the proposal that demonstrates feasibility via achievement of a "Phase I-type" effort for client and/or server-side sensing or geolocation of signals of interest.


PHASE II: Applicants should include development, installation, integration, demonstration and/or test and evaluation of proposed client and/or server software. This demonstration should evaluate the proposed solution against beta releases of AFRL's protocol for tasking distributed client sensors. Phase II awards are intended to provide a path to commercialization, not the final step for the proposed solution.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Successful Phase II technology effort reaching suitable TRL (6-7) will be candidates for additional Phase III development, including potential for transition to the Tactical Assault Kit (TAK) ecosystem in partnership with the TAK Product Center (TPC). In addition, Phase III efforts will focus on delivering client sensing and server localization capabilities to potentially a broader spectrum or series of diverse customers for operational use in a relevant commercial/ civilian, or government/military working environment.





KEYWORDS: distributed sensing; end-user devices; signals of interest; GPS jamming/spoofing

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