Technology Readiness Level

Technology Readiness Level (acronym TRL) is a methodology based on an evaluation metric that indicates the degree of technological maturity of a product or process, from conceptualization to its possible introduction into the market.

Originally developed by NASA in 1974, to quantify its technological progress, over the years it has undergone several updates until it has become the main method to measure the stage of technological development of a project adopted by various bodies, including ESA and the EC.

Since the 80s, the Air Force also used Trls, as the world of electronics and the pharmaceutical industry did in the 90s. Today Trls are used to assess the level of technological maturity of any product and especially in research and development activities.

The TRL is based on a scale of degrees from 1 to 9 that proceed in crescendo from the first (observed physical principles) to the last that includes the first production.

In a more general way, these values allow us to identify the starting point and arrival of technological maturity of any product, starting from the conceptualization of a new technology, up to its introduction in the market.

The intermediate levels correspond to the phases of research and development, testing, prototyping and piloting, up to the monitoring of experimental production and operational phases.

In this way it is possible to measure the process of developing a new product, with an evaluation of the time, costs and resources needed to complete the project.

Description of TRL levels

TRL 1 = observation of fundamental principles

TRL 2 = formulation of a technological concept

TRL 3 = proof of experimental concept

TRL 4 = technological validation in laboratory environment

TRL 5 = technology validation in industry

TRL 6 = demonstration of industrial technology

TRL 7 = prototype demonstration in real operating environment

TRL 8 = definition and full system qualification

TRL 9 = full system demonstration in a real operating environment (functional testing with enabling technologies and application to specific industry)

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