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Fast Track Program Invites Non-Traditional Roboticists to Help Bolster National Security

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A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-funded TechShop in Arlington, VA.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Robotics Fast Track (RFT) effort seeks to achieve breakthrough capabilities in a fraction of the time and cost typical of government-supported robotic development processes by engaging highly agile organizat

Credit: U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Robotics Fast Track (RFT) program aims to create a system for the rapid, cost-effective development of new robotics capabilities that can respond to, and even anticipate, quickly evolving warfighter needs.

RFT will focus on developing revolutionary robotic hardware and software by funding clean-slate approaches and creative adaptations of existing resources.

"We want this new generation of robotics innovators to see DARPA as a partner that can help them develop breakthrough technologies in the areas that personally interest them and help translate their ideas and know-how into game-changing capabilities," says DARPA's Mark Micire.

DARPA aims to encourage participation in RFT by streamlining the contracting process to meet non-traditional performers' needs while still adhering to the Federal Acquisition Regulations. "The goal is for successful proposals to take less than a month from submission to contract signing," Micire says.

DARPA is collaborating with the Open Source Robotics Foundation, an independent non-profit organization focused on software development that serves as an advocate for the advancement of robotics research and development.

RFT wants to study the expansion and augmentation of commercial off-the-shelf technologies, in addition to leveraging open source, open standards, and rapid prototyping capabilities. In addition, RFT will explore technology to improve the agility, speed, endurance, and range of robotic platforms.

From U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
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