20 mars 2018 | International, C4ISR, Sécurité

DARPA wants to connect human brains and machines

By: 

WASHINGTON ― As unmanned platforms, cyber systems and human-machine partnering become more prevalent in 21st century war fighting, the effectiveness of combat units will be determined by how quickly information can be processed and transmitted between air-breathers and machines. To achieve the high levels of brain-system communication that will be required on future battlefields, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new program to develop a noninvasive neural interface that will connect soldiers with technology.

The goal of the Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N³) program is to “pursue a path to a safe, portable neural interface system capable of reading from and writing to multiple points in the brain at once,” according to Dr. Al Emondi, a program manager in DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office.

“We’re asking multidisciplinary teams of researchers to construct approaches that enable precise interaction with very small areas of the brain, without sacrificing signal resolution or introducing unacceptable latency into the N3 system.”

Although technologies that allow for high-quality brain system communications exist today, these invasive techniques are not a practical solution for ubiquitous man-machine communication. 

Before soldiers can communicate with their R2-D2 units, DARPA scientists must overcome several significant scientific and engineering challenges.

The most significant challenge, according to a DARPA press release, will be overcoming the physics of scattering and weakening of signals as they pass through skin, skull and brain tissue. If this initial challenge is surmounted, the focus of the program will shift to developing algorithms for encoding and decoding neural signals, evaluating system safety through animal testing and ultimately asking human volunteers to test the technology.

While communication neurotechnology has a stronger foothold in science fiction than reality, Emondi believes devoting resources to the enterprise will spur breakthroughs. “Smart systems will significantly impact how our troops operate in the future, and now is the time to be thinking about what human-machine teaming will actually look like and how it might be accomplished,” he said.

“If we put the best scientists on this problem, we will disrupt current neural interface approaches and open the door to practical, high-performance interfaces.”

DARPA wants the four-year project to conclude with a demonstration of a bidirectional system being used to interface human-machine interactions with unmanned platforms, active cyber defense systems or other Department of Defense equipment.

Recognizing the potentially wide ethical, legal and social implications of such neurotechnology, DARPA is also asking independent legal and ethical experts to advise the program as N³ technologies mature.

https://www.c4isrnet.com/it-networks/2018/03/19/darpa-wants-to-connect-human-brains-and-machines

 

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  • Virtual reality training — for pilots, maintainers and more — expands in 2020

    18 septembre 2019 | International, Aérospatial, C4ISR

    Virtual reality training — for pilots, maintainers and more — expands in 2020

    By: Stephen Losey One of the top priorities of Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, the newly minted head of Air Education and Training Command, will be expanding the Air Force’s experiment with virtual reality training. So far, the Air Force has had success with Pilot Training Next, which uses VR, biometrics and artificial intelligence to better teach aspiring pilots how to fly. Webb is eyeing similar technologies, under the name Learning Next, to improve other forms of technical training. This could include teaching airmen how to maintain aircraft, fly remotely piloted aircraft or perform other technical tasks. These programs allow students’ education to proceed more at their own pace, since they are based on competency and are not tied to a timetable, Wright said. A student who already has the fundamentals down can skip the basics and go right to what he or she needs to learn. AETC is now in the process of broadening Pilot Training Next, which has been a demonstration, to the next phase of wider experimentation, Webb said. He and Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, commander of the 19th Air Force, are working on plans to expand Pilot Training Next. By next summer, Webb wants to have set up Pilot Training Next elements at several squadrons, though it wouldn’t be across all undergraduate pilot training bases. A few classes after that, Webb expects, Pilot Training Next will be expanded to all UPT bases. The Pilot Training Next expansion will likely be done methodically, at one base first, Webb said, though he would not say which base AETC is looking at. “What has happened in our last couple of years with Pilot Training Next has been an explosion, out of the box, of innovation,” Webb said. “Make no mistake, the Air Force wants this inculcated as fast as we can go,” he said. AETC is already in the “nascent stages” of testing VR and other technology-enhanced training for maintenance and other technical training as part of Learning Next, Webb said. Maintenance Next is a particular priority and is happening on an experimental basis at Kelly Field at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas, he said, and using VR for RPA training is also proceeding. As the VR pilot training shows, such programs can accelerate in a hurry, he said. Ethics   Webb also wants to cultivate an “environment of excellence, professionalism, ethics and character development” during his time at AETC. Webb, who was previously commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, pointed to the ethical clouds that have fallen over parts of the special operations community in recent years. For example, the Navy relieved the entire senior leadership team of SEAL Team 7 earlier this month over what it described as leadership failures that resulted in a breakdown of good order and discipline while deployed. AFSOC took a hard look at itself, Webb said, to make sure it doesn’t allow similar lapses to fester. “For a leader, you can never … talk about core values enough,” Webb said. “If I had to look myself in the mirror from my last command, I can tell you my team knew our mission and vision of priorities backwards and forwards.” But while airmen at AFSOC understood Air Force core values, he acknowledged he didn’t always articulate those values in his everyday “walk-around, talk-around” encounters. That can create problems if leaders assume airmen already know about the core values, he said. When a unit starts to feel the pressure from high operations tempos and a lack of resources, Webb said, that “get-’er-done” mentality can lead to bad decisions if airmen don’t have a firm foundation of the Air Force core values. “If you don’t have a firm foundation, you can go to a dark place with that … ‘find a way to yes’ mentality,” Webb said. “We’ve got to always talk about professionalism and ethics, and also always talk about our core values. That will be a capstone” of his time at AETC. Webb said he plans to continue with AETC’s recent improvements in how special warfare airmen are recruited and trained, which included standing up the new Special Warfare Training Wing and the special warfare-focused 330th Recruiting Squadron. More work needs to be done to “normalize” and fine-tune those units, and more firmly fold them into AETC’s everyday culture, he said. https://www.airforcetimes.com/news/your-air-force/2019/09/16/virtual-reality-training-for-pilots-maintainers-and-more-expands-in-2020/

  • DARPA issues solicitation for moving-target recognition project

    22 juillet 2020 | International, Terrestre

    DARPA issues solicitation for moving-target recognition project

    Andrew Eversden WASHINGTON — The U.S. Defense Department’s advanced research arm issued a broad agency announcement July 15 for technology that would use algorithms to identify moving military ground vehicles. The Moving Target Recognition program from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Strategic Technology Office is a “vital part” of DARPA’s “Mosaic Warfare” vision, in which each weapon system is one “tile” in a large force package that overwhelms the adversary. For the program, DARPA is interested in algorithms and collection techniques that allow synthetic aperture radar, or SAR, sensors to “detect, geolocate, and image moving ground targets,” the announcement read. If the goals of the project are met, the MTR program will then work to develop automatic target recognition algorithms for the moving target images. “Emphasis is on military vehicle targets, including slow moving vehicles whose SAR signatures are superimposed on clutter,” the announcement noted. Test for moving target recognition will include airborne data collection experiments to test and evaluate the effectiveness of algorithms. Under the contract, performers will be required to provide the airborne radar sensors and flight services, while the government team will design experiments with moving ground vehicles. DARPA anticipates handing out multiple awards. The MTR program has two phases. Phase one will focus on SAR moving target detection, geolocation and imaging, according to the announcement. It has a performance period of two years and a six-month option. Phase two, which is solicited through the July 15 notice, will center on automatic target recognition. Second phase instructions will be provided to the phase one performers before the end of the phase one base period. No award amount was provided. The U.S. Army is also working through the challenges associated with advanced target recognition capabilities, such as ensuring that algorithms receive adequate and sufficient data to mature and learn. “If you’re training an algorithm to recognize cats, you can get on the internet and pull up hundreds of thousands of pictures of cats,” Gen. Mike Murray, commander of Army Futures Command, said in June. “You can’t do that for a T-72 [Russian tank]. You can get a bunch of pictures, but are they at the right angles, lighting conditions, vehicle sitting camouflaged to vehicle sitting open desert?” DARPA’s mosaic warfare effort includes several other projects under the Strategic Technology Office, including one that would automate aerial dogfighting. The office is also developing two complementary systems that would identify combat systems in an area available for support missions and quickly plan their route to an area. https://www.c4isrnet.com/home/2020/07/21/darpa-issues-solicitation-for-moving-target-recognition-project/

  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - May 14, 2020

    19 mai 2020 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - May 14, 2020

    NAVY Lockheed Martin Corp., Owego, New York, is awarded a $904,800,000 modification (P00011) to a previously awarded firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract N00019-19-C-0013.  This modification provides for the production and delivery of three MH-60R Seahawk maritime aircraft for the Navy and 21 MH-60Rs for the government of India.  Work will be performed at Owego, New York (52%); Stratford, Connecticut (40%); and Troy, Alabama (8%), and is expected to be complete by September 2024.  Fiscal 2020 aircraft procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $113,100,000 and Foreign Military Sales funds in the amount of $791,700,000 will be obligated at time of award, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Hunter Pacific Group,* San Diego, California, is awarded a $30,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, architect-engineering contract for cost engineering, value engineering and scheduling services in the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC), Southwest Area of Responsibility (AOR).  Work will be performed at various Navy and Marine Corps facilities and other government facilities within the NAVFAC Southwest AOR including, but not limited to:  California (87%); Arizona (5%); Nevada (5%); Colorado (1%); New Mexico (1%); and Utah (1%).  Work provides for cost estimates and other cost engineering services in support of analyses, reports, designs and change orders.  Cost engineering services may include construction cost reduction evaluations and recommendations, bid analyses and verifications, validations of DD Form 1391 scope/cost estimate, peer review of cost estimates, review and technical analysis of contractor change order cost proposals and assistance with claims, litigations and negotiations with boards/committees.  Value engineering services shall include facilitating and forming multi-discipline technical teams to conduct value engineering and/or function analysis concept development (FACD) workshops for a variety of projects.  Services in support of value engineering and FACD workshops may include site investigations, preparation and/or review of engineering studies/reports, cost estimates, facility and infrastructure assessments, risk assessments, life cycle cost engineering and/or total ownership cost analyses, and schematic layouts/sketches.  Scheduling shall be in support of analyses and change orders and may include preparation of schedules and construction cost loaded schedules, review/analysis of base line contractor schedules and schedule updates, review/analysis of contractor change orders, time impact analysis and assistance with claims, litigations and negotiations with boards/committees.  Work is expected to be complete by April 2025.  No task orders are being issued at this time.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (O&M) (Navy) contract funds in the amount of $5,000 are obligated on this award and will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  Future task orders will be primarily funded by O&M (Navy) and O&M (Marine Corps).  This contract was competitively procured via the Navy Electronic Commerce Online website and four proposals were received.  The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest, San Diego, California, is the contracting activity (N62473-20-D-0614). PSI Pax Inc.,* California, Maryland, is awarded a $29,286,410 cost-plus-fixed-fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.  Work will be performed in Patuxent River, Maryland, and provides administrative, business and financial services such as data entry accounting processes, interface error research and analysis, process management, deficiency identification, testing of system changes, professional and analytical support, liaison support, funds management, financial tracking, internal and external data calls, document and records management, specialized analytical support in meeting financial systems requirements, assessing financial systems relative to data integrity, corporate and user reporting requirements as well as centralized support of travel related processes to include help desk support for the entire Naval Air Systems Command.  Work is expected to be complete by June 2025.  No funds will be obligated at the time of award.  Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued.  This contract was competitively procured as a small business set-aside via an electronic request for proposal; five offers were received.  The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity (N00421-20-D-0073). Mustang Technology Group LP, doing business as L3 Mustang Technology, Plano, Texas, is awarded a $19,082,000 fixed-price-incentive-firm-target modification to previously awarded contract N00024-19-C-5313 for 658 rounds of 57mm MK 332 High Explosive-4 Bolt Guided (HE-4G) Cartridge ammunition.  Work will be performed in Plano, Texas (78%), and Cincinnati, Ohio (22%), and is expected to be complete by September 2021.  Fiscal 2020 and 2019 procurement of ammunition, (Navy and Marine Corp) funding in the amount of $19,082,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. L3 Harris Technologies Inc., Anaheim, California, is awarded a $12,732,754 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P00030) to exercise options under previously awarded and announced contract N00030-18-C-0001.  Work will be performed in Anaheim, California (71%); Cape Canaveral, Florida (23%); Washington, D.C. (3%); Bremerton, Washington (1%); Norfolk, Virginia (1%), and Kings Bay, Georgia (1%).  Work will provide services and support for Flight Test Instrumentation and is expected to be complete by August 2022.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,968,016; fiscal 2020 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $9,332,143; and fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation (Navy) funds in the amount of $200,000 are obligated on this award.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Navy) funds in the amount of $2,968,016 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  This contract modification is awarded to the contractor on a sole-source basis under 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) and was previously synopsized on the Federal Business Opportunities website.  The Strategic Systems Programs, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity. IDSC Holdings LLC, Snap-on Industrial, Kenosha, Wisconsin, is awarded an $11,088,933 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract.  This contract procures up to 2,064 toolboxes containing 1.423 different types of commercial tools in support of initial outfitting associated with F-35 low rate initial production and maintenance.  Work will be performed in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is expected to be complete by September 2021.  No funds will be obligated at the time of award.  Funds will be obligated on individual orders as they are issued.  This contract was competitively procured via an electronic request for proposal and four offers were received.  The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Lakehurst, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (N68335-20-D-0025). Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., San Diego, California, is awarded a $9,162,847 modification (P00002) to cost-plus-fixed-fee order N00019-19-F-0280 against previously issued basic ordering agreement N00019-15-G-0026.  This modification provides systems engineering and program management support for the development, integration, test and delivery of two radar altimeters and two integrated avionics units in support of the BQM-34S Firebee High Performance Aerial Target System, BQM-74E target drones and the Aerial Targets Program Office.  Work will be performed in Endicott, New York (62%); San Diego, California (37%); and Clearwater, Florida (1%).  Work is expected to be complete by January 2022.  Fiscal 2018 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $4,472,396 and fiscal 2019 weapons procurement (Navy) funds in the amount of $4,690,451 will be obligated at time of award, $4,472,396 of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Independent RT Center LLC, Cibolo, Texas, is awarded $8,029,638 for firm-fixed-price delivery order M67854-20-F-5018 under previously awarded firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract M67854-20-D-5000 with a maximum ceiling of $62,500,000, for the Rough Terrain Container Handlers Service Life Extension Program.  Work will be performed in Cibolo, Texas, and is expected to be complete by January 2030.  Fiscal 2019 Congressional funds in the amount of $3,066,228 and fiscal 2020 procurement (Marine Corps) funds in the amount of $4,963,410 are being obligated and will expire Sept. 30, 2021.  This contract was competitively procured via the Federal Business Opportunities website and two offers were received.  The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-20-D-5000). Huntington Ingalls Inc., Newport News, Virginia, is awarded a $7,400,000 not-to-exceed, fixed-price incentive, undefinitized change order modification to contract N00024-15-C-2114 for the installation of Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services AN/USQ-208B (V) 5 Local Area Network drops.  Work will be performed in Newport News, Virginia, and is expected to be complete by May 2022.  Fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funding in the amount of $3,700,000 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year.  The Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Conversion and Repair, Newport News, Virginia, is the contracting activity. ARMY Perspecta Enterprise Solutions LLC, Herndon, Virginia, was awarded an Other Transaction Authority agreement with a ceiling of $237,243,000 to develop, integrate, deliver, operate and maintain an enterprise capability for Army training and education information.  Bids were solicited via the internet with three received.  Work will be performed in Herndon, Virginia, with an estimated completion date of May 17, 2024.  Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation (Army) funds in the amount of $14,500,000 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Contracting Command, Newark, New Jersey, is the contracting activity (W15QKN-20-9-1118). Charles River Laboratories, Wilmington, Massachusetts (W81XWH-20-A-0003); Envigo RMS LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana (W81XWH-20-A-0004); and The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, Maine (W81XWH-20-A-0005), will compete for each order of the $25,000,000 firm-fixed-price contract to supply small laboratory research animals and related services.  Bids were solicited via the internet with three received.  Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 8, 2025.  U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, Fort Detrick, Maryland, is the contracting activity. Quantitech Inc., Huntsville, Alabama, was awarded a $17,686,572 modification (000237) to contract W31P4Q-16-A-0010 for programmatic support for the Utility Helicopters Project Manager's Office.  Work will be performed in Huntsville, Alabama, with an estimated completion date of May 14, 2021.  Fiscal 2020 Foreign Military Sales (Australia); other procurement (Army); and research, development, test and evaluation (Army) funds in the amount of $17,686,572 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity. Mantle-Plocher JV,* Worden, Illinois, was awarded a $14,793,000 firm-fixed-price contract for placement and leasing of modular facilities to support approximately 450 personnel at Scott Air Force Base.  Bids were solicited via the internet with four received.  Work will be performed at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, with an estimated completion date of May 13, 2025.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance (Air Force) funds in the amount of $14,793,000 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, Kentucky, is the contracting activity (W912QR-20-C-0021). Dawson Enterprises LLC,* Honolulu, Hawaii, was awarded a $10,431,915 firm-fixed-price contract for construction of utility infrastructure to support the installation of a modular paint booth and personnel building.  Bids were solicited via the internet with one received.  Work will be performed in Tucson, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of Nov. 5, 2021.  Fiscal 2019 civil operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $10,431,915 were obligated at the time of the award.  U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles, California, is the contracting activity (W912PL-20-C-0017). AIR FORCE Braxton Technologies LLC, Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been awarded a $31,399,226 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract modification (P00012) to contract FA8806-19-C-0003 for support and delivery network, infrastructure, hardware and architecture solutions under the Cross Mission Ground Communications Enterprise Corps (ECX).  This contract award provides for cross-domain solutions, design, integration and rapid delivery team services.  Work will be performed in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is expected to be completed by May 17, 2021.  This award is the result of a sole-source acquisition under the Small Business Innovation Research Program.  The total cumulative face value of the contract is $55,387,870.  Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $8,507,999 are being obligated at the time of award.  Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity. The Corporation of Mercer University, Warner Robins, Georgia, has been awarded a $9,039,309 task order (FA8523-20-F-0029) on basic contract FA8523-20-D-0001 to provide Laboratory Intelligence Validated Emulators-Virtual-Constructive (LVC) closed-loop engineering test and evaluation of newly developed electronic warfare (EW) systems.  This order provides integration of gold-standard Intelligence Community threat definitions into the Electronic Warfare and Avionics Integrated Support Facility, where LVC closed loop operational test – vertical testability demonstration simulations and testing will be conducted to inform the baseline capability and to identify growth areas for improving operational survivability, reliability and mission success of fielded EW systems in support of airborne U.S. warfighting elements.  Work will be performed in Warner Robins, Georgia, and is expected to be completed by May 13, 2022.  Fiscal 2020 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $4,140,106 are being obligated at the time of award.  The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, is the contracting activity. *Small business https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2187605/source/GovDelivery/

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