During its meeting on 14 June 2017, held in Washington, D.C., the Board of Governors of the Israel-U.S. Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation awarded funding to three homeland security projects, selected by DHS and MOPS, between U.S.and Israeli companies to advance technologies for first responders. In addition to the grants from BIRD, the projects will access private sector funding, boosting the total value of the three projects to approximately $7 million.
The program funds technology collaborations between U.S. and Israeli partners that have significant commercial potential to meet the most pressing requirements of first responders. This joint research effort supports the development of Next Generation First Responder (NGFR) technology capabilities that will increase the safety and efficiency of all first responders (law enforcement, firefighters and emergency medical services). These research and development efforts will lead to new technologies that ensure first responders are better protected, connected and fully aware.
The BIRD Foundation promotes collaboration between U.S. and Israeli companies in various technological fields for the purpose of joint product development. In addition to providing conditional grants of up to $1 million for approved projects, the Foundation assists by working with companies to identify potential strategic partners and facilitate introductions.
Projects submitted for consideration are reviewed by representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Israel Innovation Authority and experts from the Israel Ministry of Public Security.
The joint projects that received approval include:
— Beeper Communications Israel(Ramat Gan, Israel) and Mantaro Networks Inc.(Germantown, Maryland) will develop an unmanned search and rescue system.
—Elbit Systems Land and C4I Ltd.(Netanya, Israel) andM87, Inc. (Bellevue, Washington) will develop public safety off-network broadband communications using multi-hop WiFi/LTE/D2Dcommunications (ProSE) technology.
— Simlat, Ltd(Petah-Tikva, Israel) and Sinclair Community College(Dayton, Ohio) will develop an autonomous drone-based search & rescue solution.
Acting Under Secretary William N. Bryan, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate stated,“I am delighted to have this opportunity to work with the Israeli Ministry of Public Security and the BIRD Foundation to bring the best of U.S.and Israeli technology companies together to develop capabilities to support our first responders. First responders across the world share common needs and capabilities, and the benefits of these partnership activities will enhance first responders’ safety and effectiveness across the globe.”
Dr. Gad Frishman, Chief Scientist of the Israeli Ministry of Public Security said: “The Office of the Chief Scientist sees the cooperation with the BIRD Foundation as one of the main mechanisms to develop and commercialize innovative Israeli technologies which will enhance the emergency preparedness abilities of First Responders. The process of identifying the needs and selecting projects in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allows for mutual benefit and paves the way for success.”
Dr. Eitan Yudilevich, Executive Director of the BIRD Foundation, said, “This second cycle of projects relating to first responder technologies reflects the potential of Israeli and American companies to jointly develop products and technologies that will keep tomorrow’s first responders more protected, connected and fully aware. We look forward to continue working closely with DHSand MOPS to foster and facilitate partnerships that respond to the capability gaps that exist in this market.”