Scalable, Adaptive, and Resilient Autonomy (SARA)

Funding Agency:
Department of Defense

Future Army forces will need to conduct cross-domain maneuver (CDM) and at times, operate semi-independently, disbursed, and while communications and infrastructure such as Global Positioning System (GPS) are disrupted or denied. Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) will play a key role in expanding the operational reach, situational awareness, and effectiveness of maneuver forces in CDM. The Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Army Research Laboratory (ARL) is focused on developing fundamental understanding and informing the art-of-the-possible for warfighter concepts through research to greatly improve air and ground based autonomous vehicle perception, learning, reasoning, communication, navigation, and physical capabilities to augment and increase the freedom of maneuver in complex and contested environments. The Scalable, Adaptive, and Resilient Autonomy (SARA) program is focused on developing and experimentally accelerating emerging research in autonomous mobility and maneuverability, scalable heterogeneous and collaborative behaviors, and human agent teaming to realize adaptive and resilient Intelligent Systems that can reason about the environment, work in distributed and collaborative heterogeneous teams, and make optempo decisions to enable Autonomous Maneuver in complex and contested environments. 

 In order to achieve this vision, advancements are needed in following: • Novel methods for all-terrain ground and aerial maneuver to interact with and move through complex environments. • Methods for scalable and heterogeneous collaborative behaviors in support of collaborative air and ground manned-unmanned teaming operations. • Techniques for improved perception, decision-making, and adaptive behaviors for fully autonomous maneuver in contested environments. • Methods, metrics, and tools to facilitate, simulate, and enable testing and evaluation of emerging approaches for intelligent and autonomous systems under Army relevant constraints and environments • Experimental testbeds to develop and refine knowledge products to inform and transition technology to Army stakeholders.  

The SARA program will consist of a series of technology sprint topics executed in annual program cycles. Each topic will be focused on addressing a different scientific area within the scope of the broad research aims of SARA. Each topic will be carefully chosen based on both program achievements from the previous year, on scientific and technological advancements by the broader research community, and in a way to systematically converge on the specific longterm SARA program goals. 

Proposals due for Cycle 1: 14 February 2020 ​

Agency Website

Areas of Interest

Cycle 1 Technology Sprint Topic: Off-Road Autonomous Maneuver. We have focused this announcement (Cycle 1) on “Off-Road Autonomous Maneuver.” Within “Off-Road Autonomous Maneuver,” there are three sub-topic areas of interest.

  • Sub-topic #1: Off-road autonomous “GROUND” maneuver
  • Sub-topic #2: Autonomous “AERIAL” maneuver through off-road environments
  • Sub-topic #3: Large scale heterogeneous autonomous systems experimentation

Eligibility Requirements

It is our goal for the program to include a diverse group of Applicants with varied long-term interests. Participants may be institutions of higher education, for-profit, or non-profit organizations. Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDC) may propose as well, with effort as allowed by their sponsoring agency and in accordance with their sponsoring agency policy. Proposals may consist of teams from any combination of organizations (e.g., prime and subawardees), but this is not a requirement for award and award will only be made to a single entity. For each Cycle, only those Applicants awarded a seedling CA will be eligible for consideration of a 3-year option period for that Cycle. All eligible Applicants may submit an application for future topics under future cycles. 

Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences
Social Sciences

External Deadline

February 14, 2020