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DASA launches MEDTI Demonstrator

The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched a new Themed Competition called Mobile Evidential Drug Testing Instrument (MEDTI) Demonstrator, looking for innovations that can enhance the testing of drug drivers.

Image courtesy DASA

Run on behalf of the Department for Transport and with the support of the Home Office and Police, this competition is seeking proposals that enhance the testing of suspected ‘drug’ drivers.

Currently, drivers suspected of being over the specified limit for specified drugs can be subject to a roadside screening test, which following a positive indication, requires the subject to be taken to a police station where an evidential blood sample can be taken. The sample is then sent to an approved laboratory for forensic analysis. It can take many months to generate a formal conclusion able to determine if a prosecution should be launched.

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Roads Minister, Guy Opperman said: "Whilst the UK has some of the safest roads in the world, we are always striving to work with the sector to develop new technology to crack down on drug driving.

"Our £1million investment for this competition marks another important step in improving road safety and championing innovation and I look forward to seeing the ideas."

DASA is seeking proposals with the aspiration to create a roadside forensic test capable of being administered at the time the driver is stopped and then generating a robust indication that meets UK court standards in a swift but sure manner. Ideally, a result would be obtained at the roadside within 10 minutes.

Key dates and funding

  • The total possible funding available for Phase 1 of this themed competition is £1 million (ex-VAT) with a maximum limit of £350,000 (ex-VAT) per proposal
     
  • The deadline to submit a proposal is midday (BST) on Tuesday 16th April 2024
     
  • A Q&A webinar to discuss the competition requirements will take place on Tuesday 5th March 2024
     
  • A series of 15 minute 1-2-1 webinar sessions will take place on Thursday 7th March 2024 providing the opportunity to ask specific questions to the competition team.

Aim
The aspiration is to create a forensic test, meeting UK court standards, that is generated at the roadside at the time of a driver being stopped on suspicion of drug driving, or shortly afterwards in a police station based approach.

The ultimate aim is the introduction of a test system to perform a drug test on a sample from a suspect with a handheld, portable, rugged and simple to use device suitable for use by a police officer.

The following examples give an indication of possible proposals:

  • Smaller blood samples can be taken from subject using tools such as finger prick lancets which are used by diabetics to provide small blood samples (~1-10µl) to test their blood glucose.
  • In addition to lancets to aid blood collection, new technologies are coming though that both pierce the skin and collect the blood. Such devices may very well lend themselves to the role of blood collection at the roadside and may be an option for some other than a forensic medical examiner taking the blood.
  • The use of oral fluid taken at a roadside and then sent for fast time evidential testing may also offer a potential future development as part of this competition.

Funded projects are expected to achieve at least Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5, 6 or 7 by the end of the contract.

Webinars and online events

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Launch Q&A Webinar: Tuesday 5th March
This webinar will provide more information on the challenge areas and how to submit a proposal. There will also be an opportunity to ask questions in the Q&A.
Register now on the Eventbrite Page

1-2-1 Sessions: Thursday 7th March
A series of 15 minute one-to-one teleconference sessions, giving you the opportunity to ask specific questions.
Register for a session now on the Eventbrite Page

Submit a proposal
If you have an idea for a novel technology that could enhance the testing of drug drivers, DASA is keen to hear from you.

Read the full competition document to learn more and submit a proposal:
www.gov.uk/government/publications/mobile-evidential-drug-testing-instrument-medti-demonstrator

 

 

 

 

 

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