Funding for Collaborative R&D in Robotics and Smart Devices
The ArtIAMAS-MIPS Program offers grants for collaborative research projects between U.S.-based companies and faculty from the University of Maryland, College Park or the University of Maryland Baltimore County in the broad areas of robotics, systems, and smart devices that work intelligently in cooperation with each other and human actors across multiple domains. The Pilot Phase of the program is now open and includes up to $100,000 per year for each project, for up to two years, with all funding going to participating university faculty. The Demonstration Phase is slated to open in the Fall of 2022 with up to $1,000,000 per project, with funding going to participating companies and faculty.
The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) Program is participating in ArtIAMAS: AI and Autonomy for Multi-Agent Systems. ArtIAMAS is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the University of Maryland that supports and stimulates the advancement of science and technology in robotics, systems, and smart devices that work intelligently in cooperation with each other and human actors across multiple domains. ArtIAMAS-MIPS projects are three-way partnerships between (1) private sector companies that wish to pursue collaborative research of interest to the ARL ArtIAMAS program, (2) ArtIAMAS-eligible faculty from the University of Maryland College Park (UMD) and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and (3) an ARL researcher. For more information on ArtIAMAS research, see artiamas.umd.edu.
Any U.S.-based company is eligible to participate in ArtIAMAS-MIPS.
Partner Company Incentives
- Opportunity to have university researchers work on technologies of interest to the company
- Opportunity to receive funding for robotics and smart devices R&D (Demonstration Phase only)
- Option to license commercial rights to new intellectual property developed by university researchers during the project, subject to Federal government purpose rights
- Retain commercial rights to new intellectual property developed by partner company personnel during the project, subject to Federal government purpose rights
- Bring company technologies/products to ARL's attention
The research areas of the ArtIAMAS program include:
- Autonomous Planning and Navigation
- Models, Tools, and Processes for Design, Test, and Verification
- Machine Learning for Energetic Materials Research
- Securing Connected Vehicles, Soldiers, and Platforms in Contested Environments
- Multi-agent Distributed Scene Perception and Situational Awareness
- Human-Machine Teaming
- AI-Enabled Decision Making in Multiple Domains
The ArtIAMAS-MIPS program includes both Pilot Phase and Demonstration Phase projects (see navigation links, above). Participation in the Pilot Phase of ArtIAMAS-MIPS will position company partners well for participation in the Demonstration Phase, although the Demonstration Phase projects are not limited to Pilot Phase participants.
Note that (1) the ArtIAMAS-MIPS program does not guarantee confidentiality of submitted proposals, (2) awards will be made on a competitive basis, and (3) the terms of the ArtIAMAS-MIPS program are subject to change.
Pilot Phase ArtIAMAS-MIPS Program
In mid-2022, we started the ArtIAMAS-MIPS pilot phase. Read more about it below.
ArtIAMAS-MIPS Funds Four Pilot Phase Projects
The new ArtIAMAS-MIPS Program announces it has funded four pilot phase projects in the areas of robotic navigation in unstructured terrains, multi-robot ground and aerial collaboration, detecting landmines using unmanned ground vehicles, and aerial autonomy.
The ArtIAMAS-MIPS Program offers grants for collaborative research projects between U.S.-based companies and faculty from the University of Maryland, College Park or the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the broad areas of robotics, systems, and smart devices that work intelligently in cooperation with each other and human actors across multiple domains.
This program pilots a new model for accelerating innovation by enabling government-industry-academia collaboration.
ArtIAMAS, which stands for AI and Autonomy for Multi-Agent Systems, is a cooperative agreement between the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the University of Maryland, led by Derek Paley, Director of the Maryland Robotics Center. The Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program is collaborating with ArtIAMAS to fund projects in the aforementioned areas of interest.
Pilot phase projects include up to $100,000 for each project, for up to 12 months, with all funding going to participating university researchers.
Projects funded for this phase include:
McLean, Va.-based Booz Allen Hamilton is collaborating with Dinesh Manocha, Paul Chrisman Iribe Professor of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland, and Jason Pusey at the U.S. Army DEVCOM-ARL (U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command(DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL)), for a one-year project worth $80,000 titled “Perception for Maneuvering Legged Robots in Dense Unstructured Terrains.”
Bethesda, Md.-based Kick Robotics LLC is teaming with Pratap Tokekar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, along with James Dotterweich, Robotics Research Engineer at the U.S. Army DEVCOM-ARL (U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL)), and Dr. Jean-Paul Reddinger, Aerospace Research Engineer, U.S. Army DEVCOM-ARL (U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL)), for a one-year project worth $68,500 titled “Autonomous Planning and Navigation for Multi-Robot Ground and Aerial Collaborative Coordination and Decision Making.”
Baltimore, Md.-based Prophecycorp is working with Nirmalya Roy, Associate Professor in the Department of Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Kelly Sherbondy at the U.S. Army DEVCOM-ARL (U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL)), on a one-year project worth $68,500 titled “Detecting Landmines in Contested Environments using Unmanned Ground Vehicles.”
San Diego, Calif.-based ModalAI is collaborating with Derek Paley, Willis H. Young Jr. Professor of Aerospace Engineering Education at the University of Maryland, and Stephen Nogar, Emerging Overmatch Technologies Autonomy Team Lead at the U.S. Army DEVCOM-ARL (U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command(DEVCOM) Army Research Laboratory (ARL)), on a one-year project worth $68,500 titled “Onboard Image Processing for Applied Aerial Autonomy.”
Projects are subject to final contract negotiations.
Demonstration Phase ArtIAMAS-MIPS Program
The ArtIAMAS-MIPS Program Demonstration Phase, to be selected in Fall 2022, will include funding for company partners. Projects will be a three-way collaboration between university faculty (ArtIAMAS participants only), a company, and an ARL researcher. Projects are expected to include field robotics demonstrations of the results at U.S. Army facilities. Funding will flow from ArtIAMAS-MIPS to both the university researchers and to the company partners. The funding for each project will be in the range of $100,000 to $1,000,000, depending on the needs of the particular project, its potential value to the ARL ArtIAMAS program, and availability of funds.
Participation in the Pilot Phase of ArtIAMAS-MIPS will position company partners well for participation in the Demonstration Phase, although the Demonstration Phase projects are not limited to Pilot Phase participants.
The university faculty principal investigator (P.I.) and the company will jointly submit a proposal to the ArtIAMAS-MIPS program, as described below.
If the company needs help finding an appropriate faculty partner to match with the company's research interests, please determine which of the Capability Research Areas (listed at artiamas.umd.edu) the company’s proposed project would belong to, and then send a brief description of the envisioned project, along with an indication of the appropriate Capability Research Area, by email to artMIPS@umd.edu.
Each proposal must also have an ARL collaborator. The role of the ARL collaborator is to validate interest in the project and to help shape the project.
The process of finding an ARL Collaborator for the project should be done by the university faculty P.I.; the company should not contact ARL personnel directly to search for an ARL collaborator.
Projects are expected to include field robotics demonstrations of the results at U.S. Army facilities.
Company project costs will be limited to a maximum of 50% of the total project cost, i.e., the university project budget must be at least 50% of the total. In addition, companies are encouraged to provide cost share in the form of in-kind contributions to the project. Typical in-kind contributions are 10% of the company project cost for companies with 100 or fewer employees and 15% for larger companies. The in-kind contributions are not counted as part of the company project cost budget that is limited to a maximum of 50% of the total project cost, nor are they counted toward the total cost limit. In-kind contributions can be in-house efforts by the company toward the project and can include equipment loans to the university in support of the project. An equipment loan may be valued at the market rate for rental or lease for the period of the loan. The extent of the in-kind contribution will be a factor in the proposal evaluation process.
The planned duration of the project should be one year.
Pre-proposals, for best consideration, are due by August 26, 2022. Full proposals will be invited based on an evaluation of the pre-proposals. Projects are expected to begin in Spring 2023, with a 12-month duration.
Pre-proposals submissions will take place through the main ArtIAMAS web page: artiamas.umd.edu.
There is a Y3 Interest Form that should be submitted by the faculty Principal Investigator.
The Y3 Interest Form is the pre-proposal portal. The last question of the interest form asks for an upload of the project description, which can be developed collaboratively by the faculty P.I. and the partner company. The pre-proposal project description (5 pages maximum) must adhere to the template, downloadable here.
If the pre-proposal is approved to move forward to a full proposal, a short format, full proposal will be required. Full proposals will consist of the pre-proposal, possibly with some modifications, plus a detailed budget and budget justification.
Export controlled information should not be included in the proposal. ArtIAMAS-MIPS cannot guarantee confidentiality of proposal materials.
Evaluations and Awards:
Application evaluation criteria include whether the proposed project furthers ArtIAMAS technology goals and the potential impact on the company's commercialization efforts.
Projects selected for funding will be formalized with a written agreement between the university and the partner company.
Monthly financial, quarterly technical, year-end financial reports, and annual capability evaluations to ARL are required as indicated in the formal written agreement for each project.
Companies must be U.S.-based. Faculty must be from University of Maryland College Park or University of Maryland Baltimore County. Faculty must be or become participants in ArtIAMAS.
ArtIAMAS Industry Affiliate Program
The ArtIAMAS Industry Affiliate Program provides a mechanism for collaboration between companies and university researchers to create and demonstrate technologies of interest to the Army Research Laboratory’s AI and Autonomy for Multi-agent Systems (ArtIAMAS) cooperative agreement with the University of Maryland. Through the ArtIAMAS Industry Affiliate Program, faculty and students work with company technologists to develop new applications within the broad areas of interest to ARL in ArtIAMAS. Through this approach, ARL personnel are also exposed to the technologies being developed and offered by the company partner. There are no fees and ArtIAMAS Industry Affiliates are not required to fund the university research, nor do they receive funding from the ArtIAMAS program. The one requirement is that an ArtIAMAS faculty member and the company partner find a specific ArtIAMAS technology that they wish to collaborate on.
Industry Affiliates enter into a formal Memorandum of Understanding with the University (template available here). If a Non-Disclosure Agreement is desired and acceptable to both the industry and faculty partners, that is available here: https://ora.umd.edu/sites/default/files/documents/um-resources/model-agreement/NDA_2022.docx).
For further information, please contact Joseph Naft.