DHS Issues RFI for First Responder Technologies

TR Daily, January 4, 2018

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate and its research and development partners today issued a request for innovators today for cutting-edge emergency response technologies with smart city and Internet of things capabilities. The goal is for such technologies to be deployed by 2020.

“We welcome every opportunity to engage the innovation community in our R&D efforts,” said Dan Cotter, director of S&T’s First Responders Group. “This RFI is part of a larger smart cities effort announced in September to spur economic growth and invest in the men and women who protect our communities. We look forward to collaborating to increase first responder safety and efficiency.”

DHS’s partners are the Center for Innovative Technology, Smart City Works, and TechNexus. The RFI is seeking capabilities to help first responders in three areas.

One involves “[a]utonomous navigation for indoor drones in support of search and rescue missions in difficult environments, such as fire or earthquake damaged structures. Separate sensor prototypes are also sought: a WiFi finder sensor for smart phone signals and a thermal sensor for detecting the heat signatures of people or other living creatures.”

Another area is an “[i]ndoor building sensor suite (digital image, video, thermal or WiFi finder) to be mounted on fixed indoor building features, such as smoke detectors or exit signs. Sensor processing will be able to establish a baseline layout of indoor space and detect changes when events impact interiors and/or occupants.”

The third area is a “[b]ody-worn responder interoperability platform that integrates personal area network communications with third-party sensor packages. This Smart Hub will also communicate with non-body-worn sensors, such as smart building and smart city technologies, and responders would use it for situational awareness and to support enhanced mission-critical operations.”

DHS said it “invites parties to express interest by January 18th, with invited final responses due by February 15, 2018. Final selection will be announced in March 2018. Selected performers will be funded at $50,000 for an initial first cut prototype. Some will be selected for a second funded validation prototype (at $100,000) over a total period of 18 months. The goal at the end of the second round is to have commercially-relevant capabilities that are also ready as a minimum viable product for initial field testing with responders.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com