DIU looking for robots that can kill coronavirus

Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Branden Weeks, assigned to Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Detachment Misawa, wipes down and sanitizes a drinking fountain as part of a modified daily cleaning routine on March 24 to help prevent the spread coronavirus and COVID-19. (U.S. Navy / Chief Mass Communication Specialist Joseph M. Buliavac)

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The Defense Innovation Unit, the military’s Silicon Valley liaison for acquiring emerging technology, wants a “automated hardware solution” to decontaminate areas potentially harboring coronavirus particles.

DIU’s solicitation seeks tech that can operate in military-specific environments, like onboard a ship or in sleeping quarters. Already, the pandemic has caused readiness setbacks, such as the USS Theodore Roosevelt’s needing to take harbor while the virus spread through the ship and caused the death of a sailor. Other service branches have had to adjust their training and recruitment to account for social distancing.

“The current COVID-19 crisis highlights the need for rapid decontamination/disinfection of rooms and enclosed spaces in shipboard and other mission-ready environments to mitigate the spread of disease or infection,” the solicitation states.

DIU usually focuses on emerging technology, like artificial intelligence and cybersecurity tools, but and is now working to find pandemic-related hardware to promote “continuity of military operations,” and “readiness,” according to the posting.

Prototypes pitched to DIU should have repeatable automation and not damage their surroundings, the agency said.

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coronavirus, Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), DIU (formerly DIUx), hardware, RFP, solicitations
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