By Daniel Smoot, Office of Army Prize Competitions and Army Applied SBIR Program
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army’s data-intelligence capabilities require novel artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to ensure the American soldier can overcome any adversary on any battlefield, real world or digital.
In its first AI/ML-focused open-topic solicitation, the Army Applied SBIR Program awarded 39 small-business contracts to deliver AI/ML solutions — ranging from natural language processing to data analysis and labeling — to identify information such as images, spoken words, text files and videos to build out machine-learning models. These models use the data to “teach” AI and improve the accuracy of information within their database.
“Through this open-topic solicitation, the program received a record-setting 420 proposals for disruptive technologies that inject game-changing innovation into Army programs,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “Additionally, these innovations tackle critical modernization challenges while advancing the goals of the National Defense Strategy.”
The companies each received an Army Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract up to $150,000 to develop AI/ML solutions. Utilizing the Army’s investment, the businesses will prototype technologies to improve Soldier data access and effectiveness across Army operations.
The Army Applied SBIR Program offers Phase I contracts to nontraditional small businesses with solutions that show technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential. The program also provides funds to businesses that can help the Army achieve its goals and earn additional federal support in Phase II to mature technologies ready for demonstration.
Through the Army Applied SBIR Program, companies collaborate with technical, acquisition and operational subject matter experts. These specialists offer insight into the Army’s technological opportunities while guiding companies through the Army research and development ecosystem.
The Army Applied SBIR Program releases contract opportunities on a rolling basis to respond to current and anticipated warfighting technology needs. For eligibility information and a list of open solicitations, please visit the Army SBIR|STTR website.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology provides the American Soldier a decisive advantage in any mission by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s most advanced equipment and services. It also leverages technologies and capabilities to meet current and future Army needs. For more information, please visit the Army ASA(ALT) website.