A. Overview Information
I. Federal Agency Name: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Information Processing Technology Office
II. Funding Opportunity Title: Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR)
III. Announcement Type: Initial Broad Agency Announcement
IV. Funding Opportunity Number: BAA 04-25
V. CFDA Number: 12.910
VI. Key Dates
a. Initial Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), June 17, 2004
b. Final Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), April 29, 2005
c. All administrative correspondence and questions on this solicitation, including requests for information on how to submit a proposal to this BAA, must be received at one of the administrative addresses below by 12:00 Noon (ET) April 15, 2005
d. Industry Day: May 12, 2004. The LAGR Program will hold an Industry Day on Wednesday, May 12th at George Mason University's Arlington Campus. For more details and registration please go to: http://safe.sysplan.com/lagr
B. Full Text of Announcement
Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR) BAA04-25. The Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting proposals for a two-phase program. The LAGR program is pursuing development and demonstration of a new generation of learned perception and control algorithms for autonomous ground vehicles. In addition to this BAA and before submitting proposals, a prospective offeror MUST refer to the LAGR Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP) located at the DARPA website, http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/solicitations/solicitations.htm for further information. The LAGR PIP contains additional details regarding the Program Objectives, Program Description, Test and Evaluation, Program Scope, General Information, Submission Process, Reporting Requirements and Procedures, Proposal Format, Evaluation and Funding Processes, and Administrative Addresses.
I. Funding Opportunity Description
PROGRAM SCOPE DARPA. The envisioned outcome of the LAGR program is a revolutionary methodology for developing autonomous navigation software systems. Current systems typically rely on hand-crafted, hand-tuned algorithms for obstacle detection and avoidance. In LAGR, algorithms will be created that learn how to navigate based on their own experience and by mimicking human teleoperation. It is expected that systems developed in LAGR will provide a performance breakthrough in navigation through complex terrain.
Phase I is an 18-month effort to develop learning methods that enable learned navigation systems for autonomous travel through outdoor terrain. Performer teams will receive a baseline system as Government Furnished Equipment, consisting of a mobile base, a state-of-the-art system for autonomous navigation including sensing, computing, and software, with total weight less than 200 pounds. On an approximately monthly basis beginning approximately three months into the period of performance, performer teams will upload their software to a central facility. There, a staff of independent DARPA-designated operators will download the code into a functionally identical vehicle system, and run it. The criteria for Phase I is for the learned system to travel ten percent faster than the baseline system, driving the same vehicle on the same course under the same conditions. Phase II is an 18-month effort whose objectives are to (a) continue development of learning methods promising revolutionary advances, and (b) port successful methods to a high-mobility vehicle named Spinner weighing several tons. The criteria for Phase II are (a) for the learned system to travel twice as fast as the baseline system, again driving the same vehicle on the same course under the same conditions, and (b) for the learned system to enable Spinner to drive autonomously. Offerors are directed to Section 2, Program Description, of the PIP for further information.
Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches and techniques that lead to or enable revolutionary advances in the state-of-the-art. Proposals are not limited to the specific strategies listed above, and alternative visions will be considered. However, proposals should be for research that substantially contributes towards the goals stated. Specifically excluded is research that primarily results in minor evolutionary improvement to the existing state of practice or focuses on special-purpose systems or narrow applications.
II. Award Information
The Government anticipates multiple awards ranging from $1.5M to $2M. Phase II funding will be based on achieving the Milestone 1 criteria. The Offeror is expected to provide a realistic technical and cost proposal for best achieving the program objectives within the outlined budget and schedule. The Government reserves the right to select all, some, or none of the proposals received in response to this solicitation and to make awards without discussions with offerors; however, the Government reserves the right to conduct discussions if the Source Selection Authority later determines them to be necessary. Final funding determination will be based on the combination of proposed approaches which will reasonably support program success. Proposals identified for funding may result in a contract, grant, cooperative agreement, or other transaction depending upon the nature of the work proposed, the required degree of interaction between the parties, and other factors. If warranted, portions of resulting awards may be segregated into pre-priced options.
III. Eligibility Information
1. Eligible Applicants
All responsible sources capable of satisfying the Government's needs may submit a proposal that shall be considered by DARPA. Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Institutions (MIs) are encouraged to submit proposals; however, no portion of this BAA will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation because of the impracticality of reserving discrete or severable areas of research and development in LAGR technology.
Awards made under this BAA may be subject to the provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 9.5, Organizational Conflict of Interest. All offerors and proposed subcontractors must affirmatively state whether they are supporting any DARPA technical office(s) through an active contract or subcontract. All affirmations must state which office(s) the offeror supports, and identify the prime contract number. Affirmations should be furnished at the time of proposal submission. All facts relevant to the existence or potential existence of organizational conflicts of interest, as that term is defined in FAR 2.101, must be disclosed in Section II, I. of the proposal, organized by task and year. This disclosure shall include a description of the action the Contractor has taken, or proposes to take, to avoid, neutralize, or mitigate such conflict.
2. Cost Sharing or Matching
Cost sharing is not required for this particular program; however, cost sharing will be carefully considered where there is an applicable statutory condition relating to the selected funding instrument (e.g., for any Technology Investment Agreement under the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2371).
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package
This announcement contains all information required to submit a proposal. No additional forms, kits, or other materials are needed. [NOTE: See paragraph 6, ?Other Submission Requirements,? for reference to the Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP).]
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
The Offeror may propose to only Phase I, or Phases I and II. The Offeror wishing to participate in Phase II should include it as an option in their proposal. In addition, the Offeror may submit only one proposal. The Offeror's proposal should consist of a Cover Page, Volume 1 Technical Proposal, and Volume 2 Cost Proposal. The Offeror should refer to Section 8, Proposal Format, of the PIP for guidance on how to structure and format their proposal. This Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) requires completion of a BAA Cover Sheet for each Proposal prior to submission. This cover sheet can be accessed at the following URL:
After finalizing the BAA Cover Sheet, the proposer must print the BAA Confirmation Sheet that will automatically appear on the web page. Each proposer is responsible for printing the BAA Confirmation Sheet and attaching it to every copy. The Confirmation Sheet should be the first page of the Proposal. Failure to comply with these submission procedures may result in the submission not being evaluated.
Security classification guidance on a DD Form 254 (DoD Contract Security Classification Specification) will not be provided at this time since DARPA is soliciting ideas only. After reviewing incoming proposals, if a determination is made that contract award may result in access to classified information, a DD Form 254 will be issued upon contract award. If you choose to submit a classified proposal you must first receive the permission of the Original Classification Authority to use their information in replying to this BAA.
3. Submission Dates and Times
The full proposal (original and designated number of hard and electronic copies) must be submitted in time to reach DARPA by 12:00 NOON (ET), June 17, 2004, in order to be considered during the initial evaluation phase. However, BAA 04-25, Learning Applied to Ground Robots (LAGR) will remain open until 12:00 NOON (ET) Friday, April 29, 2005. Thus, proposals may be submitted at any time from issuance of this BAA through Friday, April 29, 2005. While the proposals submitted after the June 17, 2004, deadline will be evaluated by the Government, proposers should keep in mind that the likelihood of funding such proposals is less than for those proposals submitted in connection with the initial evaluation and award schedule. DARPA will acknowledge receipt of submissions and assign control numbers that should be used in all further correspondence regarding proposals.
4. Intergovernmental Review ? N/A
5. Funding Restrictions
Authorization of precontract costs will be considered in situations of genuine urgency where programmatic benefits will accrue from their use.
6. Other Submission Requirements
Proposers must obtain the BAA 04-25 Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP), which provides further information on the areas of interest, submission, evaluation, funding processes, and proposal formats. This pamphlet will be posted directly to FedBizOpps.gov and may also be obtained at URL address http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm. Proposals not meeting the format described in the pamphlet may not be reviewed. This notice, in conjunction with the BAA 04-25 PIP and all references, constitutes the total BAA. No additional information is available, nor will a formal RFP or other solicitation regarding this announcement be issued. Requests for same will be disregarded.
V. Application Review Information
1. Criteria (listed in descending order of relative importance):
(1) Overall Scientific and Technical Merit: The overall scientific and technical merit must be clearly identifiable and compelling. The technical concepts should be clearly defined and developed. The technical approach must be sufficiently detailed to support the proposed concepts and technical claims. Evaluation will also consider the effectiveness of the system integration and management plan.
(2) Innovative Technical Solution to the Problem: Offerors should apply new and/or existing technology in an innovative way that supports the objectives of the proposed effort. The proposed concepts and systems should show breadth of innovation across all the dimensions of the proposed solution. Offerors must also specify quantitative experimental methods and metrics for measuring progress of the effort.
(3) Potential Contribution and Relevance to DARPA/IPTO Mission: The offeror must clearly address how the proposed effort will meet the goals of the undertaking and how the proposed effort contributes to significant advances to DARPA/IPTO.
(4) Offeror's Capabilities and Related Experience: The qualifications, capabilities, and demonstrated achievements of the proposed principals and other key personnel for the primary and subcontractor organizations must be clearly shown.
(5) Plans and Capability to Accomplish Technology Transition: The offeror should provide a clear strategy and plan for transition to military forces (and commercial sector, where applicable). Offerors should consider involving potential military transition partners, as appropriate, in any proposed experiments, tests and demonstrations. Offerors should also provide a plan for transition of appropriate technology components and information to the user community.
(6) Cost Realism: The overall estimated costs should be clearly justified and appropriate for the technical complexity of the effort. Evaluation will consider the value of the research to the government and the extent to which the proposed management plan will effectively allocate resources to achieve the capabilities proposed.
2. Review and Selection Process
It is the policy of DARPA to ensure impartial, equitable, comprehensive evaluation of all proposals and to select the source (or sources) whose offer meets the Government?s technical and policy goals. Evaluation of proposals will be accomplished through a scientific review of each proposal, using the above criteria.
Proposals will not be evaluated against each other, since they are not submitted in accordance with a common work statement. DARPA's intent is to review proposals as soon as possible after they arrive; however, proposals may be reviewed periodically for administrative reasons.
Restrictive notices notwithstanding, proposals may be handled for administrative purposes by support contractors. These support contractors are prohibited from competition in DARPA technical research and are bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. Input on technical aspects of the proposals may be solicited by DARPA from non-Government consultants /experts who are also bound by appropriate non-disclosure requirements. However, non-Government technical consultants/experts will not have access to proposals that are labeled by their offerors as ?Government Only.? Use of non-government personnel is covered in FAR 37.203(d).
VI. Award Administration Information
1. Award Notices
Principal Investigators will receive a letter informing them of the disposition of their proposal via U.S. mail.
2. Administrative and National Policy Requirements
Proposers may wish to visit DARPA?s Contracts Management Office (CMO) website (http://www.darpa.mil/cmo/pages/modelgrantagreement.htm) for model grant and cooperative agreement terms and conditions.
The Award Document for each proposal selected and funded will contain a mandatory requirement for submission of DARPA/IPTO Quarterly Status Reports and an Annual Project Summary Report. These reports will be submitted electronically via the DARPA/IPTO Technical-Financial Information Management System (T-FIMS), utilizing the government-furnished Uniform Resource Locator (URL) on the World Wide Web (WWW). Further details may be found in the Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP).
Post-award reporting requirements are set forth in Section B.I, Funding Opportunity Description. Additional details are contained in the Proposer Information Pamphlet. The DARPA/CMO website referenced above also provides general information about reports required specifically for grants and cooperative agreements.
VII. Agency Contacts
Fax: (703) 741-7804 Addressed to: DARPA/IPTO, BAA 04-25
Electronic Mail: BAA04email@example.com
Electronic File Retrieval: http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm
Mail to: DARPA/IPTO
ATTN: BAA 04-25
3701 N. Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22203-1714
Who can apply:
Eligible functional categories:
Research and Technology Development
If you have problems accessing the full announcement, please contact:
Department of Defense, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Contracts Management Office