Solution Meets Opportunity

The Army is on a mission to update its forces and equipment with improved capabilities. So we’re inviting the country’s top innovators to take some of our biggest modernization challenges and propose new ways to solve them.

We don’t know what you know. But we’re listening.

See how our process works.

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Technology Focus Areas

Four technology trends are disrupting the way everyone does business — including the Army. The Army Futures Command is looking for novel ideas or applications of these technologies (and others) across a wide range of ongoing focus areas.

APPLIED AI &
MACHINE LEARNING

Help reduce the load on humans and improve performance across operations and platforms

AUGMENTED &
VIRTUAL REALITY

Unite the real world with computer-generated representations to help users learn and react faster

NETWORKS
& CYBER

Provide Soldiers with secure, reliable tools for sharing information from anywhere in the world

ENERGY &
MATERIALS

Reduce size and weight while increasing power and performance of physical and technology systems

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Ongoing Areas Of Interest

Autonomous Platforms

Autonomous platforms – The Army is particularly interested in research in autonomous ground and air vehicles, which must operate in open, urban and cluttered environments. Robotics and autonomous systems regardless of their missions require similar concepts and technologies including:
i. Ability to move in very cluttered, irregular, urban and underground terrains
ii. Ability to move effectively in contested environments and survive attacks
i. Technologies to enable low electronic and physical profiles
ii. Techniques to allow operators to be trained quickly even for complex tasks
iii. Architectures to enable reprogrammable platforms under dynamic conditions
iv. Sensors to detect obscured targets and to characterize terrain obstacles
v. Autonomous ground and air structures, propulsion, and mobility components
vi. Technologies to significantly reduce logistical burdens

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML)

The Army is interested in AI/ML research in areas which can reduce the cognitive burden on humans and improve overall performance through human-machine teaming. AI/ML research is needed in areas such as:
i. Autonomous, intelligent maneuver and behaviors of autonomous ground and air vehicles - object recognition, threat warning, etc.
ii. Ability to analyze large, diverse data sets to predict enemy intent and behaviors
iii. Technologies to ensure robust, resilient and intelligent networking, cyber, electronic warfare and analysis of adversary signals
iv. Data analysis capabilities to engage with and exploit classified and unclassified sources in order to produce enhanced intelligence products
v. Techniques to fuse data from disparate sources to improve a particular mission

Data visualization and synthetic environments

The Army is interested in research involving concepts that enable improved situational awareness and the visualization and navigation of large data sets and to enhance operational activities and training and readiness. Research is needed in the visualization of data in following areas:
i. Sensor data
ii. Large data sets
iii. Complex multi-source mode data sets
iv. Novel visualization and synthetic environment approaches to enable improved training
v. Synthetic environments and networked instrumentation approaches for virtual-live validation of concepts and prototypes

Power Generation and Management Technologies

The Army frequently must operate where power infrastructure is not available, on small vehicles or for individual Soldiers. Solutions that enable reliable power for vehicles, Soldiers, and munitions might include research on:
i. Novel new power sources
ii. Power management algorithms to optimize generation and usage
iii. Advanced low-power electronic technologies to reduce power demand
iv. Compact power sources for small UAVs, robots, smart munitions

Sensing

The Army is interested in developing a detailed understanding of the environments and activities in the areas where it operates. Research is needed in the areas of sensors and associated processing in order to:
i. Detect people, equipment, weapons, and any other object or action of interest
ii. Detect all targets even when obscured
iii. Detect based upon, physical, behavioral, cyber or other signatures

Communications & Networks

It is critical the Army maintain secure, reliable communications for Soldiers, vehicles and at fixed locations even in austere environments. Research is needed in the areas related to following:
i. Concepts and methodologies to enable robust, secure networks
ii. Protocols
iii. Network interoperability including multi-national partners
iv. High efficiency components

Computation

The Army has a growing need for high performance computational capabilities to exploit large data sets and to compute complex AI/ML algorithms for many applications. Research is needed to improve computational capabilities in the following areas:
i. Throughput
ii. Power efficiency
iii. Edge computing

Space

Like many commercial interests, the Army is interested in exploiting space assets to solve a range of problems. Research is needed to improve space-based capabilities in the following areas:
i. Concepts enabling persistent, high-resolution sensing of ground-based features, environments, and targets
ii. Concepts enabling low-cost access to space

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Army needs to better integrate a wide range of capabilities and equipment and capitalize on commercial developments in the industrial and human IOT. The Army’s interested is driven in part by the fact that the amount of usable communication bandwidth on the battlefield will be dynamic, and as such automated reallocation of communication resources and information sharing strategies are more challenging than commercial ones. Research is needed to improve Army IOT in the following areas:
i. New concepts, quantitative models and technical approaches enabling automated management of IoT
ii. New machine learning techniques that accelerate decision making to address the scale/volume of IoT information and advance the science
iii. New approaches, low-complexity algorithms, and methods to enable secure, resilient, and to automatically managed IOT networks in highly complex, mixed cooperative/adversarial, information-centric environment
iv. Novel IoT approaches to enable improved training and system evaluation

Quantum Technologies

The Army seeks to better employ quantum sciences in a number of areas to improve the performance and security of its future systems. Research is needed in the following areas:
i. Quantum computing to solve highly complex problems in real time
ii. Quantum sensing to achieve highly sensitive characterization of activities and environments and enable highly accurate navigation
iii. Quantum communications, and networking to enable highly secure and efficient information flow

Signature Reduction

The Army needs to protect its Soldiers by making them harder to detect and locate. Research is needed to manage and reduce Army capability signatures in the following areas:
i. Technologies, methodologies and concepts to reduce the external signatures of Soldiers and of all Army platforms and equipment
ii. Capabilities to reduce RF, optical, thermal, acoustic, magnetic and any other signatures

Protection

The Army faces a number of current and future threats which it must address to protect it Soldiers. Research is needed to enhance Army capabilities for survival in the following areas:
i. Sensors to detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive threats
ii. Lightweight, easy to manufacture armor
iii. Cyber protection technologies, methodologies, and concepts to protect Army systems including Soldiers, platforms, networks, and munitions
iv. Human performance optimization to endure harsh and extenuating conditions

Human Performance

The Soldier is the foundation of all Army capabilities. Technologies that reduce Soldiers’ mental or physical burden and allow them to react faster than their adversaries is needed in the following areas:
i. Human-machine interaction to insure autonomous platforms are efficiently managed and exploited
ii. Measuring effectiveness of and enhancing training tools and techniques
iii. Methodologies and approaches for effective augmentation of Soldiers in areas of cognition, perception, and physical performance

Underpinning Methodologies

Methodologies, frameworks, tools, facilities, techniques, and experimentation concepts, which underpin and enable advanced research and development in all of the areas are of interest including those which enhance the abilities to:
i. Collect, standardize, transform, and maintain data to focus research and validate concepts
ii. Rapid modeling, development, and assessment of technologies across widely distributed research teams
iii. Integrate innovative technology applications into current or future warfighting systems, applications, and analysis systems to assess the potential operational effectiveness of novel new technology elements
iv. Automate data analytics to enhance discovery, development and transition management of technologies that address Army capability gaps

Assured Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT)

The Army is interested in research involving novel new PNT technologies which could be key enablers for many capabilities including autonomous vehicles, communications, and land navigation. Solutions that enable robust PNT for vehicles, Soldiers, munitions might include research in the following areas:
i. PNT technologies which operate reliably in GPS-degraded or denied areas which cannot be exploited by adversaries
ii. Enhancements to commercial technologies to enable them to meet Army needs
iii. Robust security techniques for PNT at all levels
iv. PNT-enabled guidance and control
v. Algorithms and techniques to fuse data from multiple PNT sources to provide robust capabilities