ISIS software project receives $17.2M contract from DARPA

The Vanderbilt Institute for Software Integrated Systems has been awarded a $17.2 million contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to accelerate the Android Mobile Middleware Objects (AMMO2) project. The contract was announced Sept. 19.

Sandeep Neema

Sandeep Neema, research associate professor of electrical engineering, is the principal investigator.

The AMMO project team is developing a lightweight software composition platform that converts standard smartphones and mobile apps into secure military and disaster recovery communications devices. The solution requires a fundamentally new software design for the so-called middleware layer that links smartphone platforms with fully integrated, distributed and real-time applications.

The new middleware developed at ISIS provides the building blocks to allow smartphones to replace and expand the functions of the traditional tactical radios used by the military.

The objective of AMMO2 is to accelerate development of the AMMO mobile middleware. The AMMO middleware will provide a common communication infrastructure to application developers. This will allow a central service to manage the shared resources on the handheld phones.

The current phase of the project includes further enhancements and integration of the AMMO middleware for interoperability with other Department of Defense programs.

Presently deployed with more than 2,000 troops overseas, the DARPA-funded AMMO project is geared to help soldiers avoid firing on friendly troops, navigate back to base in unfamiliar territories, avoid potential ambush points, and protect civilians traveling with the troops.

Numerous military-relevant software apps developed by the DARPA program already are in the field, with more under development. The AMMO project at ISIS began in 2010 with a $500,000 contract from DARPA.