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ARA Awarded DARPA ULTRA-Vis Phase 2 Contract

Applied Research Associates, Inc. has won Phase 2 of the DARPA Urban Leader Tactical Response, Awareness and Visualization (ULTRA-Vis) program. DARPA selected ARA as the sole prime from the competitive Phase 1 effort. Under the ULTRA-Vis program, ARA is developing an integrated soldier-worn augmented reality situational awareness system, referred to as iLeader, to provide an intuitive iconic command and control (C2) system for small combat units, tactical squads, and teams.

iLeader will enable warfighters to generate iconic representations of hand/arm signals using a gesture recognition glove, mark-up the 3D battle-space with symbolic graphical control measures and enemy/target locations, and display friendly force positions. The icons are geo-registered on the battlefield and viewed from each warfighter's perspective using a see-through wide field of view head-mounted display integrated with sensors for soldier position and head tracking. The iLeader system will enable the small unit leader to conduct distributed non-line-of-sight combat operations and to hand-off actionable information and direct alerts to the squad/fire teams for real-time collaboration without overload. ULTRA-Vis provides the small unit leader with a clear tactical advantage through inter/intra-squad collaboration, heightened situational awareness, and the ability to take decisive action while on the move.

ARA is the prime contractor on ULTRA-Vis and is supported by BAE Systems (UK), Iron Will Creations (CAN), SET, CenGen, Aerius Photonics, and Duke University. In the ULTRA-Vis Phase 1 effort just completed ($10.8 million), the team developed the core enabling technologies (gesture recognition data glove, see-through display, icon geo-registration capability) and demonstrated performance against DARPA gate metrics and challenge conditions. The ULTRA-Vis Phase 2 program is an 18-month $9.25 million effort to develop two (2) fully integrated prototype systems. Phase 2 options may be added during the course of the effort to introduce additional functionality into the system. The third phase of the program, if approved, will develop fifteen (15) ruggedized prototype systems through 2012. The ULTRA-Vis prototype units are planned for transition to the U.S. Army, Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and U.S. Marine Corps at the completion of the program in FY 2012.

ARA is an employee-owned company dedicated to producing innovative solutions to government and industry for over 30 years. For more information, contact iLeader Program Manager Steve Snarski at 919-582-3300.