DARPA Seeks Participants for Autonomy Tech Development ‘Sprint’

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has begun to solicit proposals for the second set of technology development activities, called “swarm sprints,” as part of an effort to build platforms for drone swarm operations.

DARPA said Friday the second sprint of the OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics program will focus on the development of autonomy systems.

OFFSET seeks to combine autonomy and human-swarm teaming technologies to support the operations of groups of 250 or more unmanned aerial and ground vehicles by small infantry forces.

In October 2017, DARPA awarded contracts to separate teams led by Northrop Grumman and Raytheon‘s BBN Technologies subsidiary to serve as systems integrators under OFFSET.

Sprinters will use existing tools or create new hardware components and algorithms to demonstrate the use of drone swarms in complex urban environments.

Participants will work to run a swarm of 50 air and ground vehicles to carry out a mission within 15 to 30 minutes.

Sprinters will have an opportunity to collaborate with DARPA and the OFFSET systems integrators to further develop autonomy technologies.

DARPA announced the second sprint after it awarded contracts to the first group of sprinters who will focus on creating novel swarm tactics.

The initial awardees are Charles River Analytics, Lockheed MartinSoarTech, the University of Maryland and Carnegie Mellon University.

DARPA will accept proposals for the second swarm sprint until April 30.

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