Air Force puts up $10 million to make flying cars a reality - Task & Purpose

The Air Force is about to put up $10 million to make flying cars a reality

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NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute.

NEC Corp.'s machine with propellers hovers at the company's facility in Abiko near Tokyo, Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. The Japanese electronics maker showed a "flying car," a large drone-like machine with four propellers that hovered steadily for about a minute.

The Air Force is pursuing flying cars — and it’s for real.

And now there’s a real opportunity for small businesses to get involved. A virtual trade show will continue to explore concepts next week. Register at http://agilityprime.com/#/sttr to attend.

The new expanded AFWERX team — a community of Air Force innovators — will host the event with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, from July 15 to 16.

The overall effort is getting serious attention. Dubbed “Agility Prime,” it already partnered with industry on a series of live-fly challenges in late April.

Small businesses can use the upcoming event to work with research institutions and universities to compete for the next round of the Air Force Small Business Technology Transfer Open Topic funding. At stake — an estimated $10 million of contracts to be awarded within 90 days.

“AFWERX is connecting the best Airmen concepts with the full scope of technologies that America and its partners have to offer so we can accelerate fielding of the world’s most advanced commercial and military capabilities,” Col. Nathan Diller, AFWERX director, said in an Air Force announcement. “TeamUp events like this one will provide opportunities for multiple stakeholders to come together and compete with speed.

Related: The Air Force is working on a ‘flying car’ to replace the V-22 Osprey — and it could take flight sooner than you think

Day one of the event will be open to the public with Air Force senior leader keynotes, an overview of the teaming between AFWERX and AFRL, funding opportunities with the Air Force STTR (“Small Business Technology Transfer”) open topic solicitation and a public trade show.

This open trade show will feature advanced air mobility — flying car — technologies like electric propulsion systems, manufacturing, high-speed secure communications, as well autonomy and artificial intelligence and the associated sensor and computing hardware.

Bottom line, the Air Force wants participants to explore “potential commercial products being developed for medical evacuation, firefighting, disaster response, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief operations.”

On day two, the virtual trade show will allow for talks with participants who have registered for a virtual booth.

“The STTR Open Topic is yet another way the Air Force is determined to be the preferred partner for small business, providing non-dilutive seed funding to them and their research partners, including universities and nonprofit institutions,” said Maj. Jared Evans, AFWERX STTR Open Topic program manager and technology transfer lead at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.

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