WASHINGTON – The Department of Defense is seeking input from industry partners on using artificial intelligence and drones in humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions.

In a Dec. 23 request for information, the Pentagon’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) called for market research to identify existing technology that could contribute to the rapid deployment of self-sufficient drones on disaster response operations.

The drones should be able to fly a predetermined area and find people or man-made objects, on land or at sea, in tough conditions including haze, clouds, fire and other obstacles. The drones should prompt when to examine findings through a remote digital monitor, allowing analysts to simultaneously focus on other missions without having to constantly watch the monitor.

To support the initiative, the drones must be capable of operating for at least two hours at 50 knots airspeed; cover a minimum of 100 square nautical miles during flight; be launched from various air, sea and ground platforms; search a geofenced area; and resist being dropped from another aircraft in flight, according to the RFI.

In addition, JAIC is looking for drone manufacturers and artificial intelligence software companies to develop solutions relating to platforms, sensors, edge AI processing and detecting algorithms that would provide drones with the necessary skills to enable search-and-rescue operations.

Industry partners may respond individually or partner with other vendors to provide a joint response. Responses should be submitted electronically no later than Jan. 20.

Chiara Vercellone is a reporter interning with Defense News, C4ISRNET and Fifth Domain Cyber

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