The U.S. Department of Transportation has issued its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program Fiscal Year 2021 pre-solicitation to provide a preview of the 13 topics expected to be featured in this year’s solicitation, totaling $1.9 million. The pre-solicitation also includes an opportunity to submit questions via the Department’s SBIR Q&A website.
The SBIR Program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization. The program awards contracts in two phases, and recognizes a third phase leading up to commercialization.
The topics expected to be funded this year focus on applying innovation and technology to address research challenges in areas such as materials, infrastructure, and safety across the following Department Operating Administrations:
- Federal Highway Administration
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- Federal Railroad Administration
- Federal Transit Administration
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
- Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
Two of the topics feature public transit cleanliness, building on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. Research topic 21-FT1: Robots for Unmanned Disinfection and Decontamination of Transit Assets, and research topic 21-FT2: Using Artificial Intelligence to Inspect, Repair and Sanitize Transit Vehicles both come under the Federal Transit Administration’s area of responsibility.
This year’s solicitation activities will include the Department’s second annual Pitch Day, which will allow small businesses selected as finalists to virtually “pitch” their proposal idea to Department staff.
Each year, the SBIR Program awards contracts to small businesses across the country to spur research and commercialization of innovative transportation technologies.