Soar Technology Inc. (SoarTech) has won the U.S. Army’s xTechSearch 7 competition.
XTechSearch incentivizes small businesses to develop innovative solutions that address the Army’s current needs by awarding cash prizes and connecting them with Army customers and funding opportunities. Participants face multiple rounds during the contest and win prize money for every round that their submissions advance.
“This was a tough competition against strong contenders, and I’m thankful for our collaboration with our partner, Sentien Robotics,” said John Sauter, SoarTech’s director of autonomy. “I’m proud of our folks who started this journey and saw it through to a great ending and a big win. Not only is this validation for our work as a small business, but the more we can develop this technology, the more effective – and safer – we can make our warfighters serving in harm’s way.”
Sauter received notification on July 6 from the Army xTech Office that SoarTech is among the final 10 winners in this competition.
SoarTech’s journey began in November 2022 when it submitted a white paper that outlined the capabilities and potential for its “Centralized Control of Commercial Drones” (C3D) system. SoarTech’s C3D began as one of 750 hopeful submissions. By January 2023, Soartech stood in a smaller field of 50 xTechSearch contenders still in consideration and won $5,000.
C3D allows a single operator to manage a fleet of several dozen drones operating multiple, simultaneous missions. An Android Tactical Assault Kit (ATAK) interface allows that one operator to launch, recover, recharge and store multiple drones simultaneously without manual intervention. By automating the logistics and control of small, unmanned aircraft systems, C3D allows warfighters to focus more on their mission and less on supervising drones.
In February, the SoarTech team made a virtual pitch to a group of Army judges. By March, they became finalists and won an additional $15,000. On June 19, SoarTech presented C3D to approximately 20 subject matter experts representing the Army and Special Operations Command at the TechConnect World Innovation Conference & Expo in Washington, D.C.
Having already earned $20,000 from C3D’s advancement in previous rounds of competition, SoarTech will receive an additional $25,000 cash award. As a contest winner, SoarTech also gets to submit for a potential $250,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research award to extend C3D for an Army application.