DHS S&T, TSA Announce New Innovation Solicitation

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are seeking innovative solutions from startups to enhance security screening, through a new solicitation under S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) “Object Recognition and Adaptive Algorithms in Passenger Property Screening.”

The new solicitation seeks solutions from startups that recognize, interpret and adapt to changes in objects, materials and other aspects of passenger property. It is open to startups and small businesses that have not had a government contract in the past 12 months totaling $1,000,000 or more and that have under 200 employees at the time of application.

SVIP brings the innovations of the startup community to assist with the DHS operational components with critical mission needs,” said William N. Bryan, the Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of S&T. “This solicitation allows us to create a partnership between TSA and the nation’s innovators to develop revolutionary technology solutions to keep this country and our people safe.”

TSA protects the nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. Together, DHS S&T and TSA are seeking solutions to enhance TSA’s detection and screening capabilities. Specific capabilities include detection of explosive threats in air cargo and passenger belongings. Secondary capabilities include the minimally intrusive resolution of alarms. TSA is particularly interested in solutions with adaptive-image interpretation and object-recognition capabilities.

“TSA is excited to partner with the Silicon Valley Innovation Program for the first time and engage with the startup community,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske. “The current threat environment requires a proactive and agile agency that coordinates closely with partners in government and industry. This is key to identifying the very best ideas for increasing security while easing the passenger experience.”

Solicitation applicants should consider the operational environment their solution would be used in. The solution:

  • Must be deployable to any screening hardware and must be able to be refined and improved once fielded on Transportation Security Equipment;
  • Must properly display and alert human screeners to the risk elements or objects;
  • Should be low effort to deploy onto hundreds of machines nationwide to rapidly respond to emerging threats;
  • Must comply with all legal, regulatory, privacy and civil liberties requirements; and
  • Should consider the user experience and overall cognitive burden in the identification of prohibited items, risk elements or other items.

The solicitation and current operational needs within TSA and DHS S&T will be discussed later today at a Homeland Security Industry Day in Menlo Park, California. TSA Administrator Pekoske and Mr. Bryan will speak and a panel will discuss the technological aspects of TSA’s operations. 

Companies participating in SVIP are eligible for up to $800,000 in non-dilutive funding over four phases. Participation in SVIP does not ensure procurement contracts with DHS or its components.

For application requirements and additional information on the SVIP solicitation, visit Object Recognition and Adaptive Algorithms in Passenger Property Screening – 70RSAT1800000024. This solicitation is open under the Innovation Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) HSHQDC-16-R-B0005.

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