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TRL & the Valley of Death

Posted by Ed Bard on

TRL -- Technical Readiness Level

 

What is your TRL?

NASA introduced the concept of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) for the aerospace industry.[1] TRL is widely used as an approximate measure of a technology’s maturity level. TRL describes the progression of technology from the initial idea (TRL 1) through scientific investigation to mature product in service (TRL 9). TRL provides a common platform for understanding technical development traction and can serve to provide a rough estimate for how long and how much money it will take to bring the solution to market.  The TRL scale does not assess risks, benefits or market viability.

A broad summary of the various TRL levels are as follows:

TRL

CRITERIA

1

Beginning stages of any technology and encompasses basic research.

2

Begin proving the feasibility of application and applied research

3

The transition from paper research to experimentation.  Components of the technology are tested. 

PROOF OF CONCEPT COMPLETED

4

Technology development, begin combining components and testing

5

Integrated technology demonstration in a lab environment.

6

Prototype able to perform all the functions required in the operational system.  The testing environment closely resembles the actual operating environment.

PROTOTYPE COMPLETED

7

Development testing and evaluation of prototype in a relevant environment.

8

Operational testing and evaluation of prototype in an operational environment.

9

Fully operational.  Technology is complete and functioning in the targeted environment

SOLUTION IS FIELDED

 

There are more specific TRL tables for specific industries and products.  These may reflect certain qualification requirements.  The three main development stages of proof of concept, prototype and fielded solution remain.  For more examples of TRLs in respect to different products such as pharmaceuticals, software, general products, and more, go to the SBIR Guide learning center at:  TRL LEVEL for Various Industries

 

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_readiness_level

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