DOT Eyes Firms, Universities for AI-Based Autonomous Drone R&D

The Department of Transportation’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center has commenced a market research effort to identify companies and universities that can develop artificial intelligence tools to facilitate autonomous operation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

DOT said Thursday in a FedBizOpps notice it looks for organizations located within a 25-mile radius of Arlington, Va., to help the department explore potential use of AI technology in unmanned and autonomous vehicle platforms.

A selected contractor will provide work, storage and test space where government engineers can ask or examine autonomous aerial systems and cars. The entity will also ensure safety and security of such test platforms at an exterior on-site facility, as well as develop AI applications with the use of an open source code.

The 12-month project will cover the development and training of a racing drone-sized quadcopter designed to use AI and machine learning to autonomously fly around an object or land on a designated target, the department noted.

Interested parties can submit responses to the sources sought notice through Jan. 17.

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