Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Systems Research

Agency: Department of Transportation
State: Washington
Level of Government: Federal
  • A - Research and development
Opps ID: NBD00159231717465591
Posted Date: Jan 10, 2019
Due Date: Jan 17, 2019
Solicitation No: 6913G6-19-SN-1001
Source: Members Only
Opportunity History
Solicitation Number :
Notice Type :
Sources Sought
Synopsis :
Added: Jan 10, 2019 3:55 pm Modified: Jan 10, 2019 4:01 pm Track Changes

1.0 Summary

The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT), John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (Volpe Center), Cambridge, MA, is conducting market research to identify Universities and companies within a 25 mile radius of Arlington, VA for research and develop of artificial intelligence applications using open source software to automate vehicle operations, provide secure storage of Government furnished platforms, and has exterior on-site space to conduct research testing. This Sources Sought Notice does not constitute a solicitation and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government. The Government will not pay for any effort expended in responding to this notice.

2.0 Background

The dynamic and rapid advancement in, and ad hoc application of, machine learning in vehicle platforms (i.e. cars, trucks, boats, unmanned aerial systems (UAS) requires the U.S. DOT/Volpe Center and other Federal partners to quickly assess usage that individuals may attempt that could present unsafe conditions on our roadways, waterways, and airspace. The Volpe Center is researching various platform's capability and susceptibility to be modified to operate autonomously in an unsafe manner, as well the monitoring the advancement of artificial intelligence/machine learning that can be applied to these platforms.

3.0 Description

The Contractor must have the level of expertise in artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning for object recognition and its application to operate unmanned and autonomous vehicle platforms, particularly Class 1 and Class 2 aerial systems. This effort has three primary tasks, (1) providing work/storage/test space within 25 miles of Arlington VA to allow Government engineers quick access in response to Government questions/investigation involving autonomous aerial systems and cars, (3) providing an exterior on-site facility where autonomous aerial platforms and cars can be safely and securely operated for testing, and (4) developing the ability through the use of open source code of a Contractor design and build racing drone size quadcopter with COTS parts to safely fly autonomously outside avoiding obstacles, locating targets. The contractor facility must be located within 25 miles of Arlington, VA.

The Contractor shall be able to provide space and material in an unclassified equipped laboratory and allow Government engineers access to work with Contractor personnel, researching advancement in object recognition for autonomous vehicles and repair/fabrication of these platforms. The period of performance of this effort is 12 months. The amount of time the Government would need to use the laboratory facility will not exceed 20% over the period of the contract, whereas the storage requirement will be for 100% of the time over the period of the contract. For Government engineers using the laboratory, the Contractor shall provide:

? Up to two work bench areas with standard electronic test equipment (computer/software, power supplies, multimeter, soldering equipment, and similar material) used in the maintenance/repair/building of conventional and autonomous aerial vehicles
? 3D printer capable of producing the type and quantity of parts to replace small components of autonomous vehicles
? Laser milling machine.

The contractor shall be able to design and build a racing drone sized quadcopter using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components and open source code, OpenCV and Python preferred. The contractor shall be able to then train the quadcopter using AI/machine learning to fly autonomously around objects and land on a designated targets. The contractor shall provide the software code and designs when completed.

4.0 Submission Instructions

Interested Contractors shall submit a written Statement of Capabilities of sufficient detail demonstrating their understanding of the Section 3.0 description of requirements (above). The Contractor shall describe personnel with machine learning/artificial intelligence research and implantation specific to unmanned aerial vehicles and object recognition; and the fabrication, design, and operation of unmanned aerial systems. Additionally, the Contractor must describe how the services relate to the Contractor's relevant past performance (three (3) previous or current experiences in the past five (5) years). Capability information for the three (3) previous or current past performance experiences shall include: Contract number; Customer (Government agency, private industry); Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) name, telephone and fax numbers; contract value and type of contract; period of performance; and description of product/services. Information provided shall be detailed and shall show technical capabilities, knowledge, and expertise so the Government can assess the ability to provide the described services in each of the above stated work areas.

All of the information sought should be conveyed in no more than eight (8) pages. Page size is set at 8.5" X 11" and text should be no smaller than 11 point and double spaced. Each response must reference the Sources Sought title. Ensure to provide the Contractor's name and the following Contractor information:

1) Point of Contact (along with telephone and email address);
2) DUNS Number and CAGE Code;
3) Contractor Address; and
4) NAICS code as registered in the System for Award Management.

Interested small businesses shall indicate their socio-economic small business size status (Total Small Business, 8(a) business development, historically underutilized business zone, service disabled veteran owned, small disadvantaged, or woman-owned) in the appropriate North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. As a result of recent changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 19, small business concerns must ensure that their status certifications are up to date.

Interested parties must respond to this announcement in writing by January 17, 2019 at 2:00 pm Eastern Time. Telephone requests will not be honored. All responses must be submitted via e-mail to Christine Guy at Electronic attachments to the e-mail should be submitted in Microsoft Office 2007 (or later) productivity application formats, or any format that can be imported by Microsoft Office.

5.0 Information Availability

THIS NOTICE IS NOT A REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL. This notice is for information and planning purposes only, and is a market research tool to determine the availability and technical capability of Contractors prior to determining the method of acquisition and possible issuance of a Request for Proposal. The notice does not constitute a solicitation for bids, quotations, and proposals, and is not to be construed as a commitment by the Government. The information provided herein is subject to change and in no way binds the Government to solicit for or award a competitive contract. The Government is not obligated to and will not pay for any information received from potential sources as a result of response to this Sources Sought notice. The Government will not pay for any materials provided in response to this synopsis and submittals will not be returned to the sender. Submissions must be disclosable to the public or the submitter should provide a summary statement that can be disclosed to the public with fuller supporting information that is clearly marked as restricted. The Government will use customary means to safeguard proprietary information, but only when such information is (1) clearly marked as proprietary; (2) is, in fact, information that could not have been obtained from another party or source; and (3) is otherwise deserving of such treatment under standards and processes described in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Executive Order 12600.

For information about the Volpe Center refer to the Volpe Center website at

Contracting Office Address :
55 Broadway
Kendall Square
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142-1093
United States
Place of Performance :
Within a 25 miles radius of Washington, DC
Washington, District of Columbia
United States
Primary Point of Contact. :
Christine L. Guy,
Contract Specialist
Phone: 6174943559
General Information
Notice Type:
Sources Sought
Original Posted Date:
January 10, 2019
Posted Date:
January 10, 2019
Response Date:
Jan 17, 2019 2:00 pm Eastern
Original Response Date:
Jan 17, 2019 2:00 pm Eastern
Archiving Policy:
Automatic, on specified date
Original Archive Date:
January 9, 2020
Archive Date:
January 9, 2020
Original Set Aside:
Set Aside:
Classification Code:
A -- Research & Development
541 -- Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services/541715 -- Research and Development in the Physical, Engineering, and Life Sciences (except Nanotechnology and Biotechnology)


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