AFWERX will formally begin industry-facing research as it prepares to launch a new “Prime” program—Autonomy Prime—focused on the collaborative development of autonomy technologies with industry to accelerate transition into Air Force programs of record.
Autonomy Prime will follow the philosophy of Agility Prime: collaborative risk reduction across industry to accelerate the development and implementation of emerging technologies critical to national security.
The program plans to introduce challenges around key technology gaps identified by AFWERX; companies will then execute demonstrations or tests at the Proving Ground to compete for funding and subsequent acquisition opportunities, which could allow them to transition into Air Force programs of record.
Mission: To create a rapid autonomy testing and transition capability—to remove roadblocks that prevent rapid, affordable, and iterative testing of autonomy in aircraft.
Why: As the Department of the Air Force looks to increase autonomy capabilities, we need a robust and agile process to access, test, iterate, and mature autonomy technologies with industry to programs of record. AFWERX recognizes that many of the technical functions for autonomy apply across a large number of Air Force missions and commercial applications. Finding those overlaps and casting a wide net for solutions enables us to identify what capabilities to migrate into programs.
What: The RFI will request information concerning technologies in the broad categories of those which may improve the capabilities of the test infrastructure at the Proving Ground (including testbed aircraft, digital engineering, or modeling and simulation), and key identified autonomy technologies that would be desired for testing and development, such as sensors, communication technologies, and software algorithms.