The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has announced that 19 U.S. small businesses will receive approximately $2,850,000 in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program Phase I awards stemming from the Fiscal Year 2021 Phase I Solicitation announced earlier this year. Each year, the SBIR Program awards contracts to small businesses across the country to spur research and commercialization of innovative transportation technologies.
From coast to coast, small businesses from 17 states were awarded contracts in research areas that align with DOT research priorities. The DOT Volpe Center in Cambridge, MA administers the congressionally-mandated SBIR Program on behalf of the Office of the Secretary of Transportation. The projects cover a variety of important and timely topics such as exploring the use of robots for disinfection and decontamination of transit assets (e.g., buses and trains) and developing technologies to alert oncoming vehicles, including school buses, of children in the roadway, especially when visibility is limited due to low light conditions.
This year DOT held its second annual virtual Pitch Day as part of the Phase I selection process. “Pitch Day served as an opportunity for invited small businesses to interact with the government and showcase the innovation they can bring to the Department. This interaction helps them understand our research needs and helps the Department learn about the expertise that exists nationwide,” said Dr. Robert Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology. “This year’s topics all play an important role in addressing the Department’s goals and priorities. They focus on infrastructure and materials, vehicle and passenger safety, and providing disinfected or sanitized transit assets.”
The SBIR Program encourages domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development that has the potential for commercialization. The program awards contracts in two phases, and recognizes a third phase leading up to commercialization.
The DOT SBIR program is currently working to award these Phase I contracts while also preparing upcoming Phase II and Phase IIB contracts, which will further support small businesses working to commercialize technologies developed in previous phases.