AFRL updates decentralized classification BAA

On January 22, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) updated its Decentralized Classification and Coordination with Non-Permissive Communications broad agency announcement (BAA). AFRL recommends that white papers be submitted by June 30 for FY21 funding.

The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Information Directorate is seeking innovative solutions to research, develop, and evaluate technologies/techniques to enable multiple systems to coordinate and identify entities of interest when communications are constrained.

The Information Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory is soliciting white papers under this Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for research, development, and evaluation of technologies/techniques to enable multiple systems to coordinate and identify entities of interest when communications are constrained. Specifically, the technical focus will be on performing decentralized multi-sensor classification and multi-agent coordination under variable communications conditions.

There is an increasing demand for unmanned systems to perform a wide range of Air Force missions. This demand is evidenced by the rapid development of small-unmanned air systems (SUAS) that are intended to reduce acquisitions cost and provide an affordance for the loss of aircraft during missions. While these new platforms provide the potential for revolutionary capability, relatively limited research has been done on how these SUAS will autonomously and collaboratively conduct a wide range of missions without careful engineering for a single purpose.

The use of SUAS for autonomous operations introduces new technical challenges that are not evident on the majority of existing platforms with permissive reach-back communications that the Government uses to conduct today’s missions. With reduced size comes more restrictive payload weights, limiting the number and diversity of sensors that can be located on a single platform. As a result, platforms must coordinate to share and leverage multi-sensor data over limited communications channels. Additionally, the SUAS must coordinate their actions and scale appropriately to the number and diversity of tasks that are necessary to complete a mission.

Efforts are categorized into four technical areas (TAs), each focusing on a different aspect of collecting information and classifying entities under non-permissive communications. Offerors may submit offers on any technical area individually or any combination of technical areas. Offerors who include multiple technical areas in their proposal should describe the work for each technical area separately and clearly identify the applicable TAs.

The technical areas are as follows:

TA1:  Decentralized, On-Device Classification

TA2:  Multi-Agent Planning for Self-Orchestrating Collectives

TA3:  Dynamic Network Management

TA4: Scalable Simulation

Full information is available here.

Source: SAM