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xTechGlobal AI Challenge

Army has launched its first global tri-service competition, seeking innovators to identify technologies providing robust, AI-enabled capabilities.

Department of Defense - U.S. Army

Total Cash Prizes Offered: $250,000
Type of Challenge: Software and apps, Ideas, Technology demonstration and hardware, Business plans, Analytics, visualizations, algorithms
Partner Agencies | Federal: Army Futures Command (AFC), The Office of the United States Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASA(ALT)), The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), AFWERX, the U.S. Office of Naval Research Global (ONR-Global), AFC Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: United Kingdom Defence and Security Accelerator (UK DASA), Imperial College London (ICL)
Submission Start: 03/25/2021 08:00 AM ET
Submission End: 05/12/2021 09:00 AM ET

Description

The US Army, in partnership with US Air Force and US Navy, is announcing its first international tri-service competition, xTechGlobal Artificial Intelligence (AI) Challenge. The xTechGlobal AI Challenge aims to engage with eligible international small to medium enterprises in the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Atlantic Area of Responsibility (AOR), including Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), across the broad spectrum of science and technology to identify capabilities that provide robust, AI-enabled capabilities to manage, integrate, and process disparate data/information sources for rapid decision making.

The US Army Futures Command (AFC)-DEVCOM Atlantic has partnered with Assistant Secretary of the Army (Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology) (ASA(ALT)), the US Air Force’s AFWERX program and the US Navy Office of Naval Research-Global (ONR-G) to delivery this tri-service competition to an international audience for the first time. The services recognize that the US Department of Defense (DoD) must enhance engagements with eligible international small to medium enterprises, by: (1) understanding the spectrum of ‘world-class’ technologies being developed commercially that may benefit the DoD; (2) integrating the sector of small business innovators into the DoD Science and Technology (S&T) ecosystem; and (3) providing mentorship and expertise to accelerate, mature, and transition technologies of interest to the DoD.

Problem Statement

Topic: AI-enabled Multi-modal Analytics in Resource Constrained Environments

Challenge: Our world is facing a rapid proliferation of data–with more and more data generated from an ever-growing number of data sources. With all of this data comes the promise of better, faster decision making but only if we can properly collect, process, interpret and present that data to those making decisions. The DoD is seeking robust, AI-enabled capabilities to manage, integrate, and process, and reason on disparate data/information sources for rapid decision making. This is particularly challenging due to severe constraints of resources such as computing power and bandwidth at the point of need. Of particular interest are the following AI/Machine Learning (ML) algorithms and software tools to enable data analytic capabilities in resource-constrained environments:

  • AI-enabled algorithms and services to rapidly assess availability of data and information sources and match the most relevant sources to end users based on user needs and available resources.
  • Multi-modal reinforcement learning algorithms and AI-enabled analytic software tools for disparate data types (e.g., video, over-the-air signals, passive sensor data, and open-source multimedia

Key Dates Submission Dates for Concept White Papers: March 25, 2021 – May 12, 2021 at 1:00-PM GMT

Final Technology Pitches: September 2021 in London, travel permitting

Prizes

Total Cash Prize Pool: $250,000

Prize Breakdown Part 1: Up to ten (10) finalists, $10,000 each Part 2: Up to three (3) winners:

  • First Place: $70,000
  • Second Place: $50,000
  • Third Place: $30,000

Non-monetary Prizes

The selected finalists will have the opportunity to participate in the xTech Accelerator program, a US innovation accelerator, to learn how to leverage the DoD defense market for future partnership opportunities. Finalists will receive intensive mentorship and access to networking events to help grow their companies for DoD and commercial users.

Rules

The entities allowed to participate in this competition must be international small to medium enterprise (SME) businesses from the DEVCOM Atlantic AOR; including Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). SME business are defined as those with less than 250 staff headcount, and within turn-over thresholds per the European Commission (EC) definition of SME. Participating entities must have or be able to obtain a CAGE code if selected to advance in the competition. Instructions on how to obtain a CAGE code can be found on the xTechGlobal registration page.

Each eligible entity:

  • Shall be incorporated in, and maintain, a primary place of business in a country in EMEA.
  • May not be a US Federal or foreign government entity or employ a US Federal employee acting within the scope of their employment.

The prize challenge will be used to identify small business concerns that meet the criteria for award of a follow on contract for additional proof-of-concept or prototype development. Finalists of the prize competition may be invited to submit a proposal for further development of their proposed technology innovation. There is potential for award of (1) cooperative agreement (CA) for a follow-on project with Army Research Laboratory to the winners of the competition. The winners of the prize competition will be invited to submit proposals for the CA opportunity. xTechGlobal is not guaranteeing the CA award and will not pay funding for the development of the proposal. The efforts described in this Notice are being pursued under the authorities of 10 USC §2374a.

While the authority of this program is 10 USC §2374a, a concept white paper submitted to the xTechGlobal AI Challenge may generate interest by another DoD organization for a funding opportunity outside of this program. The interested DoD organization may contact the participant to provide additional information.

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

Part 1: All eligible entities shall submit a concept white paper and an accompanying single-slide summary chart outlining their technology, the potential impact on the US military, the scientific viability of their approach, and the dual-use technology applications for both the commercial and defense space, and submission quality. Each concept white paper and accompanying single-slide summary chart will be reviewed by DoD and international stakeholders including user, program acquisition, and research and development subject matter experts.

Part 2: In Part 2, the selected participants will conduct a pitch (live in-person or virtual) to a panel of DoD and international subject matter experts at the pitch event tentatively scheduled early September 2021 (dates will be finalized with participants). Participants will pitch their technology concept and team ability to a representative DoD and international panel from the AI eco-system representing user, program acquisition, and research and development subject matter experts. Each participant will have 20 minutes to pitch, followed by 10 minutes for questions and answers with the judges’ panel. The option to pitch virtually will be offered to finalists who are not able to travel, either due to personal reasons or country restrictions.

Detailed instructions and evaluation criteria will be provided to the finalists.

Detailed feedback from the Technology Pitch panel will be provided to the participants of the technology pitch phase. The purpose of providing this feedback is to help accelerate transition of the technology to a US military end-user by providing insight on best applications for the technology within the US military, suggestions for product improvement for military use, and recommended next steps for development. However, the Government will not respond to questions or inquiries regarding this feedback.

Judging Criteria

Concept white papers and accompanying single-slide summary charts will be evaluated and ranked using the following scoring criteria (further details on each scoring dimension can be found on the xTechGlobal AI Challenge registration page):

  • Summary Chart – 10%
  • Technology Concept and Viability – 30%
  • Potential for Impact/Revolutionizing the Army – 30%
  • Commercial Potential – 20%
  • Submission Quality – 10%

Upon conclusion of the Concept white paper evaluation period, the Government will select up to ten (10) participants to receive a prize award of $10,000 each and an invitation to Part 2: Final Technology Pitches, tentatively scheduled for early September 2021.

How to Enter

The xTechGlobal AI Challenge is voluntary and open to all entities that meet the eligibility requirements. There may be only one submission per eligible entity and all submissions must be submitted in English. The registration information and upload submission must be received by 13:00 GMT on 12 May 2021. Submissions received after the deadline will not be considered.

All xTechGlobal AI Challenge submissions are treated as privileged information and contents are disclosed to US and International defense civilian and military employees who are part of their host-nation’s Ministry/Department of Defense (MOD/DOD) or designated support contractors only for the purpose of evaluation and program support.

All concept white papers and single-slide summary charts must adhere to the following requirements:

  • All concept white papers must be submitted using the template found on the registration page, “xTechGlobal_AI Challenge_WhitePaper_Template.doc”. Any proposals submitted in a format other than that provided by the template will not be reviewed.
  • All quad charts must be submitted using the template found on the registration page, “xTechGlobal_AI Challenge_SummaryChart_Template.ppt”. Any single-slide summary charts submitted in a format other than that provided by the template will not be reviewed.
  • Please list your company name, and proposal title EXACTLY how you would like them to appear on any contest marketing materials. Use clear and concise proposal titles to give readers and potential stakeholders an understanding of how your technology would benefit the Army.

Contact Info:

The xTech Team

Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research and Technology

Email: usarmy.pentagon.hqda-asa-alt.mbx.xtechsearch@mail.mil Website: https://www.xtechsearch.army.mil

Point of Contact

Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email