A. Overview Information
I. Federal Agency Name: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), Information Processing Technology Office (IPTO)
II. Funding Opportunity Title: Learning Locomotion
III. Announcement Type: Initial Broad Agency Announcement
IV. Funding Opportunity Number: BAA 05-25
V. CFDA Number: 12.910
VI. Key Dates
a. Initial Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), 15 April, 2005
b. Final Closing: 12:00 Noon (ET), March 1, 2006
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) February 14, 2006
d. An Industry Day will be held on March 24, 2005, at 9:00 AM (ET). Details and registration information can be found at http://safe.sysplan.com/locomotion.
B. Full text of announcement
I. Funding Opportunity Description
The Information Processing Technology Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is soliciting proposals for a two-phase program. The Learning Locomotion program will develop and demonstrate new algorithms that learn how to locomote based on the experience of a legged platform confronting extreme terrain.
Before submitting proposals, Offerors must refer to the Learning Locomotion Proposer Information Pamphlet (PIP) located at http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/solicitations/solicitations.htm. The PIP contains additional details regarding the Program Objectives, Program Description, Locomotion Platform, Terrain Boards, Test and Evaluation, Program Scope, Submission Process, Reporting Requirements and Procedures, Proposal Format, Evaluation and Funding Processes.
PROGRAM GOAL: The goal of the Learning Locomotion program is to develop a new generation of learning algorithms that enable traversal of large, irregular obstacles by unmanned vehicles. Large, irregular obstacles such as urban rubble, rock fields, and fallen logs present minor challenges to dismounted forces, slowing but not stopping them. For today?s small unmanned vehicles, these same obstacles create No-Go areas, limiting effectiveness on the battlefield. Enabling future unmanned vehicles to traverse large, irregular obstacles will allow robots to better contribute to military operations by United States and coalition forces. It is expected that the performance of the algorithms developed will far exceed the performance of handcrafted systems, creating a breakthrough in locomotion over extreme terrain. Further, it is expected that the algorithms developed will be broadly applicable to the class of ?agile? ground vehicles.
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Phase I is a 15-month effort to develop learning methods that control autonomous travel over extreme terrain. Performer teams will receive two items as Government Furnished Equipment (GFE). The first is a locomotion platform called Little Dog, with 4 legs, 3 actuators per leg, and a total weight less than 7 pounds. The second is a board with terrain features built onto it, with obstacles of varying size and spacing. 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 Little Dog, and run it on a terrain board that is statistically equivalent but not physically identical to the GFE terrain boards. The criteria for Phase I are for the learned system to travel one-tenth of a leg length per second and surmount an obstacle with the height of four-tenths of a leg length. Phase II is an 18-month effort to continue development of learning methods and begin to refine them. The criteria for Phase II are for the learned system to travel six-tenths of a leg length per second, and surmount an obstacle with the height of nine-tenths of a leg length. Offerors are directed to Section 2, Program Description, of the PIP for further information.
FUNDING: The Government anticipates multiple awards of approximately $600K-$800K per Phase. Continued funding into Phase II will be based on achieving the Phase I performance criteria. There will be an opportunity for offerors who are not selected for a contract award to participate in testing. These teams will be loaned a robot and terrain board and be allowed to participate in a reduced set of government experiments.
II. Award Information
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 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 and join others in submitting proposals. However, no portion of this BAA will be set aside for HBCU and MI participation due to the impracticality of reserving discrete or severable areas of this research for exclusive competition among these entities.
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).
3. Human Use Instructions
Proposals selected for funding are required to comply with provisions of the Common Rule (32 CFR 219) on the protection of human subjects in research (http://www.dtic.mil/biosys/downloads/32cfr219.pdf) and the Department of Defense Directive 3216.2 (http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/html2/d32162x.htm). All proposals that involve the use of human subjects are required to include documentation of their ability to follow Federal guidelines for the protection of human subjects. This includes, but is not limited to, protocol approval mechanisms, approved Institutional Review Boards (IRB), and Federal Wide Assurances. These requirements are based on expected human use issues sometime during the entire length of the proposed effort.
For proposals involving ?greater than minimal risk? to human subjects within the first year of the project, performers must provide evidence of protocol submission to a federally approved IRB at the time of final proposal submission to DARPA. For proposals that are forecasted to involve ?greater than minimal risk? after the first year, a discussion on how and when the offeror will comply with submission to a federally approved IRB needs to be provided in the submission. More information on applicable federal regulations can be found at the Department of Health and Human Services ? Office of Human Research Protections website (http://www.dhhs.gov/ohrp/).
IV. Application and Submission Information
1. Address to Request Application Package
This announcement and the PIP contain 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 PIP.]
2. Content and Form of Application Submission
This BAA requires completion of an online Cover Sheet for each Proposal prior to submission. To do so, the offeror must go to http://www.dyncorp-is.com/BAA/index.asp?BAAid=05-25 and follow the instructions there. Each offeror 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. If an offeror intends to submit more than one Proposal, a unique UserId and password must be used in creating each Cover Sheet. 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.
PROPOSAL FORMAT: Offerors must submit an original and 4 copies of the full proposal and 2 electronic copies (i.e., 2 separate disks) of the full proposal (in PDF or Microsoft Word 2000 for IBM-compatible format on a 3.5-inch floppy disk, 100 MB Iomega Zip disk or cd). Mac-formatted disks will not be accepted. Each disk must be clearly labeled with BAA 05-25, offeror organization, proposal title (short title recommended) and Copy number of 2.
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) April 15, 2005, in order to be considered during the initial evaluation phase. However, BAA 05-25, Learning Locomotion will remain open until 12:00 NOON (ET) March 1, 2006. Thus, proposals may be submitted at any time from issuance of this BAA through March 1, 2006. While the proposals submitted after the April 15, 2005, deadline will be evaluated by the Government, offerors 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
Offerors must obtain the BAA 05-25 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 05-25 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):
a) 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.
b) Control Issues: Demonstrated understanding of the issues in controlling a high degree-of-freedom quadruped robot.
c) Implement Machine Learning Methods: Demonstrated understanding of how to implement machine learning methods in real-world problems
d) 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.
e) 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 Information Administration
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
Offerors may 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 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 URL on the World Wide Web (WWW). Further details may be found in the Offeror Information Pamphlet (PIP). 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 05-25
Electronic Mail: BAA05email@example.com
Electronic File Retrieval: http://www.darpa.mil/ipto/Solicitations/solicitations.htm
Mail to: DARPA/IPTO, ATTN: BAA 05-25, 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