Gartner Research

Market Insight: March of the DARPA Smart Machines

Published: 15 June 2015

ID: G00277159

Analyst(s): Katell Thielemann


Just as autonomous vehicles fielded during DARPA's 2004 Grand Challenge accelerated the development of self-driving vehicles, a number of projects currently under development merit close attention. We provide TSP CTOs with an overview of programs currently underway, and ways to get involved.

Table Of Contents


  • Historical Case for DARPA Technologies
  • Technology Description
    • Biological Technologies Office
    • Information Innovation Office
    • Defense Sciences Office
    • Microsystems Technology Office
    • Strategic Technology Office
    • Tactical Technology Office
    • Programs' Alignment With Smart Machine Characteristics

Background and Context

The Impact

  • Factors That Will Drive Transition
    • Successful Research Aligning With Defined Needs
    • Graduation Into Fielding, Supported by DoD Armed Services Budgets
    • Licensing for Commercial Adoption
    • Fresh Ideas
    • Dual-Use Technologies
  • Factors That Will Inhibit Transition
    • Continued Need for Military Superiority
    • Safety Limits on Autonomy
    • Societal Impact Trade-Offs
    • Cost-Benefit Analyses
    • Strategic Cost-Benefit Analyses of Securing DARPA Funding


  • Technology Impact
  • Actions for the Next Six to 18 Months

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