The Department of Homeland Security is looking for a few good drone startups.
As part of an effort to connect with innovative industry, Homeland Security held an industry event last week in order to meet “nontraditional contractors” who might be able to provide the drone technology that they need.
A notice posted on FedBizOpps said that Customs and Border Protection, the department tasked with deterring terrorists, is seeking drone technology to assist “agents constrained by limited mobility and visibility.”
The meeting, held in support of the DHS Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Silicon Valley Innovation program (SVIP) was held in Menlo Park, and gave representatives from DHS and CBP an opportunity to present their ideas for future technology and the needs of the department to a group of entrepreneurs.
While drones are already in use along the border, presidential candidate Donald Trump has said that he will expand their use. In addition, new technology such as facial recognition could be implemented to assist the Department.
While it has previously been difficult for new companies to obtain government contracts – sometimes taking up to a year – the new innovation program plans to expedite processing to 30 days. Startups who can provide technology that matches the government’s needs could receive $50,000 to $200,000 for milestone. While the funding amounts are not as high as traditional venture capital offerings, government representatives assured attendees that the trade off was worth it. Federal personnel said that they would help companies to gain recognition in the commercial market, testing new products and doing their part to communicate the value of the new technology.
The meeting is the latest in a series of efforts by the government to strengthen their ties with new technology startups. The new programs are the result of plans to streamline acquisition process and to keep government departments equipped with new technology: the newly opened Silicon Valley branch of DHS should help with bringing new companies on board.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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