DARPA seeks technology for seeing inside buildings

Project aims to develop several technologies, not a single comprehensive solution.

A new Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project hopes to give warfighters the ability to see inside buildings in urban environments. The DARPA pre-solicitation aims to develop a suite of sensing technologies for looking deep inside a building from above- and below-ground. The technologies should be suitable for a broad range of building types. The technologies must support several intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations including pre-mission planning, assessments of targeted structures and live updates during missions. “As overseas military and peacekeeping operations have expanded in urban environments, our adversaries have adopted asymmetric strategies such as hiding in and operating out of civilian buildings,” the solicitation states. “To reduce the tactical risk to U.S. forces, it is imperative that we develop technologies to allow U.S. forces to confidently maneuver within building interiors.” The name of the project is Harnessing Infrastructure for Building Reconnaissance. DARPA officials say they think the technologies developed under the program will use a building’s infrastructure to gain information about its interior. The project assumes a building’s infrastructure contains tactically useful information. Infrastructure includes the structural, electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems. External radar systems are being developed under another program, so that type of technology is being discouraged for this project. DARPA officials assume that multiple approaches may be required to provide complete building interior awareness. A Proposer's Day will be held Oct. 30 in Arlington, Va. The project was announced Oct. 10.