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14.2 Solicitation Technical Questions and Answers

Technical questions pertaining to the FY14.2 U.S. DOT SBIR solicitation research topics must be submitted to the U.S. DOT SBIR Program Office via email at dotsbir@dot.gov.

Please note that technical questions will be accepted through September 8, 2014, at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Questions received after September 8, 2014, but before the solicitation close date and time may not be answered. The U.S. DOT SBIR Program Office will submit all technical questions to the research topic authors for response. Questions and answers will be posted below.

Go directly to questions and answers related to the following topics:

Federal Aviation Administration

Federal Highway Administration

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Federal Transit Administration

National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration

Office of the Secretary of Transportation - Research and Technology 

Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration


Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

14.2-FA1: Commerical Space Vehicle Tracking Using 1090 MHz ADS-B

Question: Where can I get a description of this simulator? 

The following link should answer this question: 

http://www.spirentfederal.com/GPS/Products/GSS8000/Overview/

We have the latest version of SimGEN from Spirent Federal Systems.

For lab testing, the ARINC 429 Labels (Alt./Heading) required for a DO-260B-Compliant Transponder are generated by our BF Goodrich 429EX: http://www.avionteq.com/BF-Goodrich-JC-Air-429EX-Word-Generator.aspx

Question: What are the formats of the simulator outputs?

The simulator outputs a RF feed that replicates what a GPS receiver would see in the open sky.

Question: What is the physical interface between the simulator and the breadboard?

It is a 50-ohm coaxial cable connection.

Question: Will the GPS, attitude, heading and reference system (AHRS) for high altitude balloon flights be government furnished equipment (GFE)?

The GPS receiver should be a part of your Bread Board. Your Bread Board design should include a coaxial connection to a GPS antenna that can be remotely mounted on the balloon. This GPS antenna should be able to be disconnected in order to directly connect the GPS Simulator and also to allow for custom cable lengths depending upon balloon configuration. The AHRS information should be supplied from your Bread Board GPS receiver to the Modes/ADS-B Transponder.

Question: If so, where can I obtain interface specifications and message formats for this system?

Not applicable, see the answer above.

Question: If not, are you expecting GPS and AHRS to be deliverables along with the Mode S Transponder prototype or will these be separately funded?

The GPS receiver should be a part of your Bread Board Design. The receiver should supply the appropriate data and accuracy values to ensure that your Bread Board Transponder transmits accurate and complete ADS-B messages including LAT/LON and GPS Altitude in addition to replying to normal ModeS RADAR Interrogations.

Question: Is there any requirements for Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) for the ADS-B Out equipment and the integrated ADS-B Out/SATCOM Transmitter?

No requirements for size and weight, but size and weight are a key consideration (less is more). Power requirements: ideally the unit should be self-powered but able to accept from 10 to 40 vdc. For transmit power the Mode-S/ADS-B transponder should meet all requirements of a normal Mode-S transponder.  

Question: What are the maximum altitude, speed, acceleration, vibration, and temperature this transmitter need to operate at?

The Phase I breadboard itself will not have to meet these requirements though altitude, velocity, and acceleration will incrementally be simulated.

End state requirements for operational equipment: altitude up to 300 miles, velocity Low Earth orbital (17,000 miles/hour), acceleration 20gs; vibration environment: ELV and sounding rocket environments—more detail in phase II—bidder may query/work with launch providers; temperature -60C to 100C.

Question: Does the Phase I breadboard require both ADS-B Out capability and SATCOM functionality?

Yes.

Question: For the ADS-B Out Phase-I Prototype, are you expecting an upgraded and re-packaged ADS-B Out commercial equipment that can be used for high altitude balloon tests?

No, we will work with balloon provider on insulation packing of tour equipment but expect your cooperation/guidelines.

Question: Does FAA have any preferred ADS-B commercial vendors?

No.

Question: For Phase I's task 2, is there any requirement or preference for the frequency band of SATCOM?

No.

Question: Would a SATCOM transmitter that simply up-convert the ADS-B messages from 1090 to a convenient TBD SATCOM frequency suffice?

The SATCOM equipment must simply deliver the message to the ground in its proper ADS-B format for use.

Question: Commercial space vehicles may/will have different sizes and, for SATCOM, may require “antennas” to be conformal to the body of the vehicle to minimize aerodynamic related issues. Will this type of antenna analysis be part of the phase 1 or phase 2 tasks?

Phase 1 - No.

Phase 2 - More detailed antenna analysis will be required.

Question: For Phase II: Are there SWaP requirements for the 10 prototypes required?

For the early prototypes, transmit power should not exceed that of transmitters used on aircraft. The designer has trade space with SWaP requirements otherwise. We will work with early adopters to integrate on their vehicles.

For the advanced  prototypes – TBD.

Question: For Phase II: Will FAA conduct the viability and reliability testing of the prototypes?

FAA expects bidder to do this. More detail will be provided in phase II.

Question: For Phase II: Will FAA provide the traffic levels, traffic configuration, airspace size, and the direction of transit for the commercial spacecraft (i.e., inbound or outbound) as required for the operational assessment studies?

FAA will provide guidelines for this in phase II.

Question: The GSS8000 simulator description states "Up to 3 RF carriers, selected from a range of constellations and signals, can be accommodated in a single signal generator chassis." Since air data are unusable above some threshold altitude and since four carriers are needed for altitude determination, does this mean that testing altitude measurement above the air data threshold using the GSS8000 simulator is out of scope?

 3 RF carriers but 8 channels of L1. If by “Air data threshold” you are referring to Barometric Pressure, your Bread board design should be using both Barometric and Geometric altitudes since both are transmitted in the ADS-B message.

Question: What is your plan for altitude measurement verification for a commercial spacecraft (e.g., on reentry)? 

The plan is to use the GSS8000 to test the Bread Board design(s). The ADS-B transmit messages will be recorded and analyzed to verify all fields including the accuracy values.

Question: Can the GSS8000 simulate hypersonic flight (e.g., reentry from low earth orbit)? 

Yes, the GSS8000 can simulate hypersonic speeds. 

Question: Can an ARINC 429 databus analyzer be provided as GFE on loan for the duration of the project?

No.

Question: Do you plan to test the breadboard for compliance with RTCA DO-160B 2.2.2.1.1 RF Peak Output Power (minimum)?  

If you are referring to DO-260B 2.2.2.1.1, the answer is yes.

Question: If so, will this occur when connected to the GSS8000?

No, a ModeS Test set and/or a Spectrum Analyzer and/or a Signal Analyzer will be used for output power measurements as well as frequency and Pulse Shape analysis.

Question: Please describe the interface between the breadboard and the recorder and any limits on RF Peak Output Power (min, max).

Your design should have an RF coaxial output that would normally be connected to an antenna. Your design should also meet the output power specifications in RTCA DO-260B 2.2.2.1.1.

Question: Must the “breadboard-level” prototype include a 1030 MHz IFF receiver?

Yes.

Question: What about an ADS-B “in” receiver?

Nice to have, but no.

Question: DO-160B Appendix D-2 Figure 2 is confusing.  It indicates transmission on 1030 MHz and reception on 1090 MHz. I know we have to receive on 1090 for ADS-B "in" and 1030 for IFF but I was expecting to have to transmit only on 1090 ADS-B "out". Is there some TCAS related requirement to also transmit on 1030?  If so, can you provide a reference to the requirement?

DO-260B Appendix D Figure D-2 is a block diagram of the subsystems that could be included in a BASIC Extended Squitter Transmit/Receive “Ground Station.”

Question: Is the GSS8000 simulator located at Volpe Center in Cambridge MA or is it at some other location?

The simulator is located at the FAA Tech Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Question: For high power RF testing will the government have a 500W RF Load to terminate the output or will we need to bring our own?

FAA will supply all external attenuators and loads for testing.

Question: During FAA simulation testing of the breadboard prototype will there be an RF source for 1030 MHz IFF?
If so, of the IFF uplink format  (UF)/ Mode S downlink formats (DF), to which will we have to reply?

  • UF=0; DF=0; Short Air-Air ACAS
  • UF=4,5; DF=4,5 Surveillance (roll call) Altitude, IDENT
  • UF=11 DF=11 Mode S Only All-Call
  • UF=16; DF=16 Long Air-Air ACAS
  • UF=20,21; DF=20,21 Comm. A/B Altitude, IDENT
  • UF=24; DF=24 Comm D ELM

The transponder should act as a normal Mode-S transponder with ADS-B out functionality.

Question: Are responses limited to Mode S interrogations (i.e. ignore mode A / C interrogations)?

The transponder should act as a normal Mode-S transponder with ADS-B out functionality.

14.2-FA2: Management System Display to Track Emergency Response Vehicles and Mutual Aid During a Crash Response

Question: Is a cloud-based platform acceptable?

A cloud-based platform would be acceptable, and may be an advantage as it could provide greater access to references and standards across multiple sources.

Question: Command and control functionality was mentioned in the solicitation. Should the system have the ability to not only track disparate systems, but recommend courses of action (i.e., aid command authorities with decision making)?

The system as envisioned would incorporate existing emergency plans and mutual aid agreements as reference. It would provide these documents/reference materials to command authorities such that they could reference them as needed during accident/incident response. This provides the reference, but keeps the responsibility for decision making in the hands of the command officer(s) on-scene. We would assume that they would make their decisions IAW existing regulations, existing mutual aid agreements, existing FAA-approved airport emergency plans, existing professional standards (such as NFPA standards and IFTSA guidance), and as required by the existing and rapidly changing tactical situation. I am not certain that incorporating recommended courses of action would not be beyond the scope of this project as it would require a level of data processing (and incorporation of references and standards) that would be enormous. So, adding recommended courses of action would be nice to have, but may be too much to ask for.

Question: If the role of the software is to command and control as well as track, what is envisioned as the role of emergency personnel who are using this software?

In airport accidents/incident response, there is the possibility (a strong possibility) that airport rescue firefighting (ARFF) personnel will be supplemented by mutual aid fire and rescue from surrounding communities. In fact, what often happens in large accidents/incidents is that a unified command is established—quite often with the transfer of command from one senior officer to another as the accident response progresses through its various stages. Often mutual aid officers in a unified command are senior and ultimately take command of the response. These officers may not have the most current knowledge of the available ARFF equipment or airport capabilities. In addition, these officers (all highly skilled and qualified) are confronted with needing to keep track of many disparate units and many personnel responding to a fast-paced chaotic situation. Also, they must convey an accurate picture of the tactical situation (what units are where, who needs water resupply, how many patients have been triaged/collected/transported etc., etc.) in real-time to the emergency operations center. Having a management information system that could provide them with the ability to track units deployed and in reserve, personnel available, patients, and other data would be the ultimate use of this system.

Question: Can you provide some background about the requirement to “track communications channel use and current status”? Do you mean hand held radios, or some other communication channel?

We really mean tracking the assignment and use of frequencies. As a secondary effort, we could add tracking of mutual aid radio systems (specifically hand-held radios) distributed by the airport to mutual aid departments and companies as they arrive on the airport. This would serve the purpose of knowing which companies had compatible systems with communications during the event and serve accountability and tracking after the event.

Question: Is access to the use/status generally available via internal computer networks in airports?

Unfortunately no and that is one of the problems. Often the incident commander does not know what frequencies are in use and if there is confusion about which frequency to assign and use. There is often the need to switch channels and when that happens the IC, and subordinate commanders, can lose track. In addition, the EOC may not be aware of this information. Thus, our idea was to be able to provide this information in a device, shared between the IC and field, and EOC.

Question: How can the status of a mutual aid comm channel be determined?

First, we would have to be cognizant as to what channels are available for use through assignments listed in mutual aid agreements or in the airport emergency plan. Then, through actions by field personnel, we would have to know what frequencies have been assigned in the field or what frequencies are working and what frequencies are not. In some local areas, this is tracked by dispatch or fire command at the city or county level, but in others it is trial and error in the field. Thus, if we could incorporate a way to track this (as simple as field personnel being able to input "Channel 12 in use" or "switched from channel 12 to 9A at 1230 local") and share the information between all users of this system, the EOC, and others as appropriate.

Question: Is personnel tracking in GPS denied areas (in buildings, tunnels, etc) desirable? 

It would be nice to incorporate GPS tracking of personnel in buildings and such, but certainly not absolutely necessary. The idea of incorporating personnel tracking would be a secondary to tracking of vehicles and mutual aid units for this research. The initial topic description states ‘consider integrating’ personnel tracking. Thus, the only item really needed would be for the system to allow for users to manually enter the number of personnel assigned by assignment and by unit.

Question: What kinds of data communication network or infrastructure exist, or do they need to be supplied?

Airports differ in what communications capabilities they have. Smaller airports rely entirely on commercial systems such as telephone/cell networks and handheld radio systems for emergency on-scene communications. Larger airports will integrate into existing emergency systems that may include repeater networks and such. A system used to track emergency response and mutual aid units should integrate into whatever system the airport in question is using, normally commercial systems.


Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

14.2-FH1: Decentralized, Public, and Mobile-based Sidewalk Inventory Tool

Question: The solicitation topic 14.2-FH1 includes the following stipulation: "It will be important to link the new public crowdsourcing application to the automated Public Rights-of-Way Assessment Process (PROWAP), which was developed through support from the SBIR program (DTFH61-57-10-C-10081)." Please define what is meant by "link" the new application to PROWAP. PROWAP appears to be a commercial product owned by Beneficial Designs, Inc.  What obligation does Beneficial Designs, Inc. have to provide product information to others to ensure "linking"?

Please be advised that an amendment has been issued for the FY 14.2 SBIR solicitation (DTRT57-14-R-SBIR2). Please review the amendment before preparing and submitting a proposal for the 14.2 solicitation

Question:  Based on the paragraph outlined in the solicitation FY 14.2 FH1, is it okay to assume that the proposal requires that we list the options for interoperability with the State Of Maryland ADA- related data system. Also, is it okay to assume that the technology being proposed to create a public facing interface using mobile application leverages on the current MD state road data, rather than interfacing with the MD data through their system, for Phase I of the grant.

"It will be important to build the functionality so that the new application links seamlessly to other existing data sets. For example, the State of Maryland has been a leader in the government-led collection of ADA-related data along State roads. The new application could add a public functionality and interface by displaying this type of information (if it is publicly available) as part of a strategy to “flag issues” with the data and thus keep it updated over time."

The Maryland example is only an example. The text says: “For example, the State of Maryland has been a leader in the government-led collection of ADA-related data along State roads.” There is no requirement to work with Maryland or any other specific State or local entity.

Question: The solicitation states that “The prototype should enable an individual user to simply and efficiently document the presence or lack of a sidewalk.” Do you envision that the developed solution will collect discrete data points about presence or absence of sidewalks at specific locations or continuous data (i.e., sequenced data) as the user walks along a sidewalk?

A range of data strategies should be considered. This could include continuous data and/or it could enable users to log a manual series of points. The key evaluation criterion should be simplicity of the proposed user interaction relative to the quality and type of information collected.

Question: We do not know of current related research in this area. There are many people building mobile apps, but there isn't a central place where sidewalk-related research can be found.  Do you have any suggestions for a starting point for us to look at what kind of work is currently being done in this area?

It is up to the proposer to identify and document relevant existing research.

14.2-FH3: Modular Building Block Approach to Construction Assembly in Place Mini-Roundabouts

Question: Is the above request for proposal in the current SBIR solicitation primarily related to just the design and layout of the blocks? 

It is about the design of the modular blocks, their interlocking and water drainage mechanism (between the blocks), and field installation hardware as a system.

Question: I have is if lightweight, durable, cementitious blocks/panels is something that would be considered?

There is no restriction of the type of material that may be used. Relative to cast-in-place concrete curbs, the requirement of the proposed new product shall exhibit comparable strength and durability, but cost significantly less (consider the cost of the blocks and installation labor).

Question: What is the substrate for these blocks?

The substrate for these blocks is the existing pavement surface (may be with some minor surface treatment). 

Question: Solicitation 14.2-FH3 concerning a modular building block approach to constructing mini-roundabouts requests for a development of modular curbing. Should the proposer be concerned with the design of the interior body of the central island and splitter islands, or is this request for proposal strictly limited to the curbing system as a means to outline a central island and splitter island?

The modular block pieces that outline the curbing system of central island and splitter island are required (including how the pieces will stay together under truck load, how surface water will drain away from it and not trapped inside it). The interior body of the central island and splitter island are optional but will be a plus. It is desirable to use modular blocks to form the interior of splitter islands and corner curbs, since these elements are narrow and it is difficult to use heavy compaction equipment. The same statement can be made to the interior body of the central island. 

Question: Referring to the description of this solicitation, in "Desired Phase 1 Outcomes" number 2 states, "Design and prototype modular blocks that can:". What specifically are the functional requirements of a Phase 1 prototype? Should the prototype itself function under the required load of 22,000 PSI/Axle? Or, is it sufficient to have an appearance prototype to be used for form and fit testing? (Supported by FEA analysis)

Phase 1 prototype requirements:

  1. A modular block design that shows interlock mechanism between blocks, how they are attached to the pavement, and how water drains away from it.
  2. An actual prototype product that can be installed at an intersection to demonstrate its function. The interlocked modular blocks should be able to withstand the truck load of up to 22,000 lb/axle.

Question: Is there a specific prototyping method required for a Phase 1 prototype, and does it need to be the same material as a proposed final production unit would be?

There is no specific prototyping method required. It needs to be the same material as a proposed final production unit would be.

Question: With composite or polymer based components the actual production costs will most likely show significant cost savings compared to existing cast-in-place systems, however the cost to produce a production quality prototype (including tooling) may be well outside the funding allowed for phase 1 of the project. My questions are:

  • Would it be sufficient to create a prototype that is representative of a final product in appearance (may not be exact) but fully demonstrates the function and material capabilities?

Yes.

  • Is there any opportunity for additional funding in phase 1 to cover tooling for prototypes?

$150,000 is the maximum amount allowed in under Phase I. If the prototype looks promising and implementable to advance to Phase II, there is the potential of up to $1,000,000 in additional funding.


Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

14.2-FM1 Driver Fatigue and Distraction Monitoring and Warning System

Question: We are thinking of proposing a system that “alerts a driver if there is a fatigued driver nearby and suggests measures to prevent an accident because of the fatigued driver.” However, the driver fatigue detection would be based on existing technologies. Would such a system be in the scope of this topic?

Yes, it’s in scope.

Question: What are the shortcomings of the current COTS systems that this topic would like to address?

There may be multiple measures of fatigue such as the use of machine visioning to detect fatigue or distraction. How accurate is this measure? What happens if this measure temporarily fails? PERCLOS (percent eye closure) is also typically used. Again, what is the accuracy and reliability of this measure?

Question: What are the objective metrics for evaluating success? What is baseline against which we have to show improvement?

Objective measures should show that the system is successfully detecting driver fatigue or driver distraction. The baseline will be defined by the project team.

Question: We are considering a fusion based approach that combines measures such as PERCLOS and vehicle kinematics.  Can we make assumptions such as access to Electronic On-board Recorder (EOBR) and/or CAN Bus?

The project plan should include the steps the project team will take to get access to the EOBR or CAN Bus.

Question: It is assumed that Human Factors studies (appropriate human machine interface for warning drivers) would be planned in Phase I but actually conducted in Phase II. Is that a correct assumption?

One of the goals of the project is to ensure the system works in an operational environment. Phase I should include a small test of the success of the system in operation.

Question: In our past interaction with FMCSA in the past we have found out that the proposed approach should satisfy not only the technical requirements but also, the agenda of the wide variety of stake holders: law enforcement, Trucking Industry, Insurance Companies, and industry advocates such as the American Trucking Association and  Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Can you provide some insights?

The focus of the project is to develop a system to successfully warn drivers and carriers when a driver is fatigued or distracted.

Question: Are there any other specific limitations/features of these current systems that do not meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration needs?

An example of a system that is not reliable or accurate is a system that fails to measure PERCLOS (percent eye closure) for a brief time. In addition, how accurate is the PERCLOS measure? This applies to any measure the system is using to detect fatigue or distraction. What happens if the measure is temporarily unavailable? How does the system ensure accuracy of the measure? Perhaps a camera malfunctions, how will the system address that? 

Question: Can or will the proof of concept be evaluated using defined video recordings or does it require in-vehicle on-road testing?

One of the goals of the project is to ensure the system works in an operational environment. Phase I should include a small test of the success of the system in vehicle on-road testing.

Question: In either event is there a performance or measurement method standard for, and what is the criterion for, “successful implementation” of operator performance variables such as PERCLOS or gaze orientation?

Objective measures should show that the system is successfully detecting driver fatigue or driver distraction. Successful implementation will be defined by the project team.

Question: For proof of concept,  a) is it sufficient to have a working model system of a sensing and sensor data processing subsystems with an interface to an external laptop computer serving as a monitor and controller that can be consolidated and re-packaged in phase II, or b) is it a requirement to develop a full prototype of what would be manufactured in Phase II?

The goal of the project is to have a system that will work in operations. In Phase I, this can be a working model system with an interface to an external laptop computer serving as a monitor and controller.

Question: Will evaluation require in-vehicle on-road testing , or will a simulator to be employed?

Phase I should include a small test of the success of the system in vehicle on-road testing.

Question: In either test-bed scenario a) will FMCSA provide access to that equipment, or b) will bidder be requirement to make arrangements or make a test-bed? If the latter what are the requirements if one is to be built?

The project team will make arrangements to complete on-road vehicle testing.

Question: To demonstrate proof of concept will it be a requirement to make facial video recordings of the operator, or b) are video recordings available (from FMCSA) that will be used for evaluation?

The project team will make facial video recordings.

Question: What is the range of the illumination levels in lumens or lux, and acoustic in SPL to be used for successful implementation evaluation in an operational environment?

The project team will define illumination levels.

Question: Is it necessary that the proof of concept system communicate with carrier vehicle monitoring systems such as Omnitracs?

No.

Question: Where, when and at what time will the road testing be conducted, and what is the estimatedc duration of the test exclusive of proof-of-concept equipment installation?

The awardee will schedule the test at a time that is convenient for the awardee and FMCSA.

Question: Please confirm that the awardee is  a) expected to perform the installation and b) participate in the vehicle during the road test  (or does the FMCSA team plan to  do it all)?

The awardee will conduct the test.

Question: Please confirm that it will be acceptable to merely place laptop computer on the seat or dashboard, or be held by a testing participant?

For Phase I, the awardee can hold a laptop computer.

Question: Relative to the testing date when will mechanical specifications be available (including distance from the mounting location to the driver’s face ) for installing the sensing components?

The awardee will make arrangements to complete on-road vehicle testing.  So, the awardee will make the arrangements for what is deemed necessary for the test.

Question: To use vehicle electrical power at the drivers location in the cab what voltage and connector is available?

The awardee will make arrangements to complete on-road vehicle testing.  So, the awardee will make the arrangements for what is deemed necessary for the test.

Question: Will the road-test vehicle be equipped with lane departure sensing and if so, who is the manufacturer (and contact information), and how can data from it be accessed?

The awardee will make arrangements to complete on-road vehicle testing.  So, the awardee will make the arrangements for what is deemed necessary for the test.

Question: What access is available to connect to the road test vehicle’s onboard networks, and what protocols and standards are employed?

The awardee will make arrangements to complete on-road vehicle testing.  So, the awardee will make the arrangements for what is deemed necessary for the test.

Question: What electrical and optical test equipment will be available for awardee use for installation or the road test? 

The awardee will make arrangements to complete on-road vehicle testing.  So, the awardee will make the arrangements for what is deemed necessary for the test.


Federal Transit Administration

14.2-FT1: Technology to Improve upon APC Data Counting that will Provide Better Correlation to Service Plan

Question: What is the target cost for the system?

Not defined.

Question: For integration purposes, what APC systems are currently being used and can you provide specifications?

A variety of different APC technologies are used: infra-red beams, treadle mats, visioning, heat sensors, low-frequency ultrasound waves, and other technologies working in tandem with a software-based algorithm. FTA does not have specs on these systems that transit industry produces.

Question: For integration purposes, what AVL systems are currently being used and can you provide specifications?

FTA does not use AVL. The technology is for public transportation or transit (bus) agencies.

Question: Are you interested in an integrated all-in-one ACL and AVL system?

This is not for FTA; it is for the transit agencies or transit industry. It should work with or without any particular AVL system.

Question: What is the current APC’s accuracy for passenger counting? And what is the minimum expectation for the passenger counting accuracy with the proposed APC?

The expected accuracy level is 95 percent or more.

Question: What is the current APC’s accuracy/ability for rider origin-destination tracking? And what is the minimum expectation for the rider origin-destination tracking accuracy with the proposed APC?

The expected accuracy level is 95 percent or more.

Question: What is the expected technology readiness level (TRL) by the end of Phase I and Phase II? Is testing in a lab environment acceptable in Phase I?

Phase I is exploratory research/test. Phase II is prototype test demo in a lab or in the field.  

Question: Will DOT be able to arrange field test for the company during Phase I and/or Phase II?

No.

Question: Is it the goal of this research topic to develop a system to track when and where passenger A, passenger B, passenger C, etc. on boards and alights from the mass transit system?

The goal of the research is to find solutions that significantly improve the accuracy of both rider boarding and alighting counting and rider origins and destinations.


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

14.2-NH1: Device to Address the Competing Needs of Ensuring Lockability of Seat Belts and Mitigating Entrapment Risk in Mis-Use Conditions

Question: Is the goal of this proposal to produce a device that is available to consumers as an aftermarket add-on or modification or is intended be installed by the automotive manufacture? 

The goal of this proposal is to produce a device that is installed by the automotive manufacturer.

Question: Is the device intended to attach to the seat belt itself to provide the desired functionality or be a redesign of the locking mechanism and seat belt assembly?  

The device is intended to be a redesign of the locking mechanism and seat belt assembly.


Office of the Secretary of Transportation - Research and Technology (OST-R)

14.2-OS1: Using Alternative Energy to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Production in the Transportation Sector

Question: Which of the following topics would be responsive to the solicitation:

  1. Using renewable energy to create liquid transportation fuels
  2. Better batteries to better store renewable energy in vehicles
  3. Fuel cells for vehicles that are adapted to liquid fuels that can be created renewably
  4. Engines designed to work on liquid fuels that can be created renewably

All of the topics listed in the question above would be responsive to the solicitation.

Question: When you ask for methods of using alternative energy to reduce greenhouse production, are you specifically looking for new fuels, or would improvements to alternative energy technologies be acceptable?  For example, would an innovative method of increasing the range of electric vehicles fit this topic?

Improvements to alternative energy technologies would be acceptable.

Question: What’s the targeted greenhouse gas reduction requirement in terms of percentages (e.g., up to 30% life-cycle CO2 savings, and/or 20% fuel savings)?

We are not looking at greenhouse gas reductions for specific technologies, just the larger goal of zero greenhouse gas production in the U.S. by 2050.

Question: Do you have a target # of cost ($ per watt, or per kWhr) for the new devices/systems?

We do not have any target costs.

Question: One pathway to zero emission vehicles is the use of hydrogen fuel cells as the primary power source. However, the net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions is dependent on the source of hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen produced from electrolyzers that are powered by renewable energy sources is a clear solution to minimizing GGE production in the transportation sector. However, there is significant research still required to improve the efficiency and lower the cost of electrolysis technology, in order to make this a cost effective source of hydrogen fuel for zero emission vehicles. Would a proposal for innovation in large scale, high efficiency electrolysis be considered responsive to this topic?

Electrolysis technology research involving renewable energy sources would qualify.

Question: We are planning on developing a novel nanostructured material as a low pressure energy carrier to address the requirements of this topic as we read it. Our technology has been successfully demonstrated at the lab scale (mg), but its feasibility for pilot scale and for vehicular applications has not been tested. Is this the appropriate technology level for this grant application?

Based on the information provided, a proposal would be appropriate.

Question:  The topic above refers to the USDOT's Zero Emissions Transportation Initiative, yet I have been unable to find any information regarding this initiative. Specifically, I am looking for any reference to the stated goal of eliminating transportation sector GHGs by 2050. Can you provide a link or some sort of reference I can research?

The Zero Emissions Transportation Initiative is an internal U.S. DOT initiative based on the President’s Climate Action Plan and his goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.  The U.S. DOT initiative goes beyond the President’s goal and seeks 100 percent greenhouse gas reduction by 2050. The best resources for you to examine would be the Climate Action Plan and other documents/statements by the White House on greenhouse gas reduction.


Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

14.2-PH1 Develop and Demonstrate New Non-Destructive Evaluation Methods to Quantify Remaining Strength of Line Pipe Steel and/or Pipeline Fittings

Question: Will the burst test data referenced in the solicitation be provided for validation of theoretical/numerical models?

No, any data has to be supplied by the applicant’s team.

Question: Could some elaboration be provided on the statement: “The objective of this topic is to determine the next steps after an operator determines the mechanical properties of the steel line pipe in material grade X65 and above and or pipeline fittings are insufficient.” Specifically, where does the corrosion model fit into the described operator work flow?

Corrosion models are one of the many tools that aid the operator in making risk-based decisions on operational controls along with the repair and maintenance of their system.

Question: Is the application of the developed model part of those described “next steps,” or does such an application inform the mechanical determinations made by the operator?

The application of the model is one of several next steps the operator could choose to use based on their operational procedures.

Question: Although the specifications of this solicitation emphasize the validation and possible amendment of existing methods, the phrase “developing new methods for pipeline technical diagnosis and evaluating a line pipe’s actual technical state…” indicates this solicitation may also be seeking completely novel approaches to the evaluation of pipelines. Is the present solicitation seeking suggestions for alternative test methods in the event that existing methods are determined to be inadequate, or is such work beyond the scope of the present project?

The applicant can choose what path to take. Developing/enhancing and validating existing models to address technical diagnosis is one path. The applicant can choose to justify another path that may provide a solution to address the technology gap identified. All applications will be reviewed.

Question: A specific challenge mentioned in the RFP is investigating the descriptive physical model of impact strength change effect on the pipeline’s actual technical state. Can this be further elaborated? Is there further information on impact strength change effect?

The change in impact strength effects due to changes in material properties between older steel grades and modern steel grades are of concern. The applicant will need to understand and convey these effects and how their approach will address the issues needed to assess the operators in improving the integrity and safety of the pipeline system.

Question: The proposal recommends a focused program on higher strength line pipe with electro-chemically induced, simulated corrosion defects. Should it be assumed that this portion of the study will be performed in Phase II or is it expected that some physical models will be tested during Phase I (i.e., The expected Phase I outcomes are for mathematical and scientific analysis, and Phase II includes validation and testing of potential models. Should Phase I also include physical samples and validation)?

To fully validate the applicant's approach, it is thought that full-scale validation may be considered in a Phase II effort. DOT/PHMSA has no access to line pipe with or without defects. Finding line pipe with complex defects needed to validate a model or tool is next to impossible. Thus line pipe with electro-chemically induced, simulated corrosion defects could be an option the applicant may consider for the validation effort.

Question: Is there a place in this topic for development of an automated testing method that could be used as a supplement to, or a replacement for, RSTRENG and/or B31G? 

The topic is looking for an NDT technology, which can be either a physical tool or a software-based solution.

Question: Is the actual purpose to test RSTRENG, to replace it with a new model, or to develop a better technology? RSTRENG and/or B31G.

The applicant can choose what path to take. Developing/enhancing and validating existing models to address technical diagnosis is one path. The applicant can choose to justify another path that may provide a solution to address the technology gap identified. All applications will be reviewed.

Question: Are we expected to concentrate on the pipe area, or should we put more effort into the fittings?

Main focus is on the line pipe with a secondary similar issue with fittings and junctions.

Question: On the understanding that DOT wants tests to validate RSTRENG and/or B31G standards, does DOT anticipate the development of new modeling software if these two fail?

DOT is looking to the applicant to identify in their application any potential issues with RSTRENG and/or B31G with material grade X65 and above. And then propose a solution to the issues as a scope of work in their application.

Question: If Phase 1 determines that RSTRENG model does not need to be modified for predicting the remaining strength for pipes or fittings with grades X65 and above, do we just validate/test RSTRENG (and/or B31G) model in Phase 2, or is there still a need for developing a potential new model?

DOT is looking to the applicant to identify in their application any potential issues with RSTRENG and/or B31G with material grade X65 and above. And then propose a solution to the issues as a scope of work in their application.

Question: What’s the targeted spatial resolution requirement for the defect/corrosion? 

Defect sizing information is part of RSTRENG and/or B31G.

Question: Is it different if we are given the option of developing a new NDT technology instead of testing the software?

The applicant can choose what path to take. Developing/enhancing and validating existing models to address technical diagnosis is one path. The applicant can choose to justify another path that may provide a solution to address the technology gap identified. All applications will be reviewed.

Question: Is the proposer expected focus on steels with strengths above X65 for this proposal – Are these the only primary materials of interest?

Yes, work should focus on pipeline steels of X65 or higher in strength.

Question: Is the proposer expected to generate the burst test data for Steels with strengths X65 and above with corrosion defects?

We anticipate the proposer will have access to existing burst test data to develop their NDE approach and possibly in phase II task conduct validation burst test.

Question: The solicitation mentions the objective of the topic as to “Determine the next steps after an operator determines the mechanical properties of the steel pipe line are insufficient”… Is this pertinent to the corrosion damage size or are we considering any other mechanical properties or environmental conditions as additional sources causing damage?

The applicant needs to identify the defect cause they are considering along with any justification of their NDE approach.

Question: As an outcome of Phase I, is proposer expected to demonstrate that the existing approaches are insufficient assuming we generate the burst data for X65 and above?

The applicant will need to justify their approach to address the identified gap found in the existing NDE tools for high-strength steels above X65 grades. Burst test could validate applicant's approach.

Question: Can burst test data used to develop existing models (such as b31G or RSTRENG)  be provided?

DOT/PHMSA does not have the data used to develop existing models of b31G or RSTRENG. Someone in industry conducted the burst test back in the 1980s and 1990s for ASME to develop the models.

Question: Will standard operating procedures be available to review to determine possible recommendations and/or places for the “next steps?”

DOT/PHMSA do not have or maintain operator procedures. It will be up to the research team to obtain that information if needed.

Question: Should a partial validation study be proposed for Phase I, or should Phase I be completely numerical simulation/model based?

Validation phase with burst test is seen as SBIR phase II effort.

Question: Many of the questions posted have been regarding analysis of the pipeline and/or assessing the criteria established for the for the pipeline (B31G and RSTRENG). The solicitation also discusses non-destructive examination (from "Focus Area" first sentence). Is the expectation of this solicitation to also investigate improved NDE (physical examination) techniques?

The project is intended to investigate the criteria found in B31G and RSTENG and/or other models and how high-strength pipeline materials are reacting differently to these models. This knowledge can be beneficial while investigating improved NDE (physical examination) techniques. Actual development and validation of an NDE technique may not accrue until late in the project or, if not, a possible work scope under a Phase II carry-on effort.

Updated: Tuesday, September 9, 2014