The DHS Science and Technology Directorate’s research portfolio is driven by our customers’ needs. They provide requirements, and we conduct research and development or look at commercially available options to find the best solution for current and emerging threats.
For example, with the growing volume of data from next generation tools and sensors available, first responders can easily be overwhelmed and distracted from critical tasks. S&T’s Next Generation First Responder Apex program tackled this problem alongside NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and developed the Assistant for Understanding Data through Reasoning, Extraction and Synthesis (AUDREY). A state-of-the-art human-like artificial intelligence (AI) reasoning system that assists first responders at the scene of an emergency, AUDREY sifts through vast amounts of data and provides tailored situational awareness information to first responders. It is a useful and potentially life-saving tool to help first responders in any situation and in any location.
AUDREY is one of many tools S&T is working on to help responders carry out their life-saving responsibilities more safely and effectively. By using artificial general intelligence principles to accept that perfect information may not be available and data may be contradictory, AUDREY is able to direct attention to the most relevant information, guide the reasoning process and recognize when the responder needs new information.
We are testing out AUDREY with our Canadian partners in Hastings-Quinte, Ontario. As part of the U.S.-Canadian bilateral agreement to evaluate next generation first responder technology, emergency medical services (EMS) operators in Hastings-Quinte partnered with S&T, NASA JPL, Defense Research Development Canada and Canadian technologists to develop and test AI applications to improve patient outcomes. In early April, we co-hosted a dry run for an upcoming AUDREY experiment. The final experiment will involve a scenario where EMS will use AUDREY’s AI technology to treat patients experiencing chest pain. At the end of the experiments, we’ll prepare after action reports to share with our counterparts and stakeholders.
AUDREY was also a topic at the recent annual Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis. The conference hosted stakeholders from the global firefighting and public safety community. In addition to AUDREY, FDIC participants experienced another S&T-developed product: the Smoke and Particulate Resistant Turnout Ensemble. S&T developed the ensemble in partnership with North Carolina State University’s Textile Protection and Comfort Center and LION First Responder PPE, Inc. First Responder Resource Group input was used to support and guide the ensemble’s design and implementation. This collaboration resulted in a turnout ensemble that provides inherent resistance to smoke and other particulates without the need to don additional equipment.
S&T does not do research and development for the sake of research and development. Our customer’s requirements directly drive our portfolios, and providing first responders what they need to keep themselves and our nation safe is one of our driving principals. Learn more about our projects by visiting the Our Work section of the website and find out how to work with us by visiting our Business Opportunities page or review our Industry Guide.