WASHINGTON – The U.S. Army offered contracts to five small businesses to develop artificial intelligence-powered, language-translation software capable of breaking down communication barriers between the U.S. and Pacific-based countries.
In June, the Army Small Business Innovation Research Program, led by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, requested small businesses submit proposals for machine-translation solutions for lesser-known Indo-Pacific languages. With the help of industry, the Army will utilize advanced natural language processing tools to help increase communication and collaboration with previously inaccessible populations in the Indo-Pacific region.
“The recent rise in sophisticated, AI-based language models can help the Army broaden its understanding of cultures, languages and populations across the Pacific,” said Dr. Matt Willis, director of Army Prize Competitions and the Army Applied SBIR Program. “Solutions developed under this solicitation could also broaden the Army’s Indo-Pacific knowledge and relations beyond allied countries, enhancing its diplomatic and military effectiveness overseas.”
Via the five Phase I Army SBIR contracts, the selected firms can each receive nearly $250,000 each to develop machine-translation technologies. As part of the agreement, Army subject matter experts will assess the businesses’ solutions and their ability to translate and summarize intricate information from multi-lingual communications.
Phase I Army SBIR contract selectees
· Anonymous A.I., Inc.; Oakland, Calif.
· Barron Associates, Inc.; Charlottesville, Va.
· CLOSTRA, Inc.; Miami, Fla.
· InferLink Corporation; El Segundo, Calif.
· Onai (Onu Technology, Inc.); San Jose, Calif.
Throughout the expected six-month performance period, Phase I selectees will gain access to Soldier touchpoints that provide developmental and evaluation-based feedback on solutions in realistic settings. Companies can capitalize on this support to develop demonstration-ready prototypes and to potentially earn a Phase II contract worth $1.5 million.
The Army SBIR Program awards Phase I contracts to small and nontraditional businesses with solutions exhibiting technical merit, feasibility and commercial potential. The program awards Phase II and Direct to Phase II contracts to businesses that address Army needs with mature technologies capable of gaining increased federal support.
Small business selectees gain access to technical, acquisition and operational subject matter experts. These specialists offer information on the Army’s technological needs and guidance from the Army research and development ecosystem. Companies capitalize on this by collaborating with technical points of contact that serve as a resource for businesses while they mature their technologies for eventual insertion into Army acquisition programs.
The Army SBIR Program releases contract opportunities ad hoc to respond to current and anticipated warfighting technology needs. For eligibility information and a list of open topics, please visit the Army SBIR|STTR website.
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology leverages technologies and capabilities to provide U.S. Soldiers a decisive advantage in any environment by developing, acquiring, fielding and sustaining the world’s finest equipment and services. For more information, visit the ASA(ALT) web page and follow @ArmyASAALT.