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DARPA Unveils Challenge to Identify Underground Environment Mapping, Navigation Strategies

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has introduced a new project called the Subterranean Challenge which aims to discover new strategies on how to map, navigate and scour through underground environments.

DARPA said Thursday it invites research teams worldwide to send proposals for methods that can help address challenges related to subsurface network mapping and unpredictable factors that impact the development of tunnels, underground urban spaces and other cave networks.

“The DARPA Subterranean Challenge aims to provide previously unimaginable situational awareness capabilities for operations underground,” said Timothy Chung, a program manager at the DARPA tactical technology office.

“Through the DARPA Subterranean Challenge, we are inviting the scientific and engineering communities—as well as the public—to use their creativity and resourcefulness to come up with new technologies and concepts to make the inaccessible accessible,” added Fred Kennedy, director of the DARPA TTO.

DARPA will award approximately $2.8 million in prizes for selected winners of both the Systems and Virtual tracks of the SubT challenge.

The agency will host a proposers day for the challenge on Jan. 18, 2018 in Arlington, Virginia and a broad agency announcement will be posted on the FedBizOpps website in the coming months.

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