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The Research and Exploratory Development (RED) Mission Area’s primary objective is to discover and pioneer innovative breakthrough technologies by way of advanced research. RED is the research engine of the Laboratory and provides our sponsors with relevant cutting-edge solutions with capabilities spanning the areas of science, engineering, and fabrication. We are focused on discovering new solutions to current and futuristic operational challenges in support of our government and industry partners. While RED has specific focus areas of research, we are mission-oriented, and our work supports cross-functional, multidisciplinary collaborations.

Our high-performance teams are composed of physicists, biologists, and engineers who are experienced practitioners of technology. RED combines expertise in multiple disciplines with a culture of excellence to anticipate the needs of our partners. By combining our in-house technical expertise with that of our collaborative partners, RED serves as a portal to technological expertise through the application of novel research to accelerate transformative innovation.

Our research efforts are organized into four strategic program thrust areas. They are:

  • Advanced Science and Technology Development
  • Signature, Energy, and Materials Science
  • Alternative and Trustworthy Computing
  • Robotics and Autonomy

Scientists and researchers in RED utilize a broad range of specialized laboratories and experimental facilities specifically designed to support advanced research activities. APL’s newest resource, the Intelligent Systems Center, was established to foster a bold, innovative, and collaborative research and development environment. RED primarily utilizes this facility and leads the charge in bringing together experience across operational boundaries while leveraging expertise specifically in robotics, autonomy, neuroscience, and information science. For additional information, see our Facilities page.

Program Thrust Areas

Advanced Science and Technology Development

Mission: Pursue research opportunities, grow emerging research areas, and improve intelligence and defense capabilities through advanced physics, sensor, computer science, and information science research

Alternative Computing Paradigms

Mission: Enable solutions to previously intractable or even unimaginable computational problems by developing innovative computing paradigms ensuring efficiency and security

Signature, Energy, and Materials Science

Mission: Provide revolutionary materials and energy solutions for personnel and platforms that vastly improve capability, cost-effectiveness, and size, weight, and power

Robotics and Autonomy

Mission: Identify gaps and shortfalls, conduct cutting-edge research, and deliver breakthrough discovery and optimal solutions in robotics and autonomy—solving critical problems and enhancing U.S. national security objectives

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