RFI_UAS – Sources Sought – Request for Information on “Detect and Avoid” (DAA) Technologies to Facilitate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) UAS Shipboard Operations

Sep 2, 2020 | Sources Sought

RFI: Request for Information on “Detect and Avoid” (DAA) Technologies to Facilitate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) UAS Shipboard Operations

AGENCY: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notification; Request for Information (RFI).


In order to produce more efficient, economically feasible unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operations for a variety of use cases, the Federal Aviation Administration is now considering allowing Federal agency and private industry entities to operate in beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) conditions, provided that they can successfully demonstrate safe operations utilizing proven, effective mitigation strategies.  As such, it is a priority for the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, UAS Program Office (UASPO) to aid the agency and its interested stakeholders in realizing the benefits of BVLOS UAS operations at an accelerated pace by exploring existing, proven “Detect and Avoid” (DAA) capabilities..

Therefore, the UASPO is requesting information about DAA capabilities from industry to enable BVLOS UAS operations, particularly for shipboard operations in oceanic environments 2 to 150 nmi offshore. Of particular interest to the program are evolving, cost effective solutions that will allow for NOAA UAS platforms to safely avoid all other types of aircraft while conducting scientific studies in these areas up to an altitude of 15,000 ft MSL. Such technologies would include an appropriate stabilized shipboard system that provides the Pilot-in-Command (PIC) with the ability to fly at least 5 nm radius from a ship with mitigation strategies to detect and avoid incoming aircraft from all azimuths at ranges of up to 20 to 50 nm.

Examples of detection capabilities that may be of interest include primary target detection (e.g. ship- or aerial-based radars, passive acoustic systems, etc.), secondary target detection (e.g., detection of aircraft using platform-transmitted location technology), or a combination thereof. Associated supporting information pertaining to prior testing of these detection systems is desirable. Such documentation might include size, weight and mounting specifications, operating information such as detectable target size and range, probability of detection and false alarm analyses, safety risk analyses, relevant airspace density studies, etc.  Furthermore, newly available technologies coming online now possess the capability to leverage data fusion techniques, taking information provided by a variety of disparate source sensors, and work in concert with airborne and ground-based computers to generate course-correction solutions for avoiding aircraft collisions.  As such, information provided about existing DAA systems should be able to provide “conflict mitigation strategies” based on the detected locations and derived relative motions of other aircraft. Mitigation strategies could be provided, either through a computerized analysis of the situation with recommended collision avoidance solutions sent to the UAS PIC for manual course-correction, and/or coupled with the ability for the PIC to enable pre-programmed, automated course-correction actions that would allow a UAS to be safely maneuvered away from potential traffic conflicts within the study area.

DATES: Interested firms are invited to submit responses on or before October 30, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written responses by any of the following methods:

Email: uas.oar@noaa.gov Please include the subject heading of ‘‘Response to Detect and Avoid RFI’’. Attachments to electronic responses will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF formats only.

Mail: Captain Philip Hall, NOAA UAS Program Office, 1315 East West Highway, SSMC3/OAR Room 11100, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

INSTRUCTIONS: Responses containing references, studies, research, and other empirical data that are not widely published should include copies or electronic links of the referenced materials. All submissions, including attachments and other supporting materials, will become part of the public record and subject to public disclosure. Sensitive personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, or names of individuals, should not be included. Submissions will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. Comments that contain profanity, vulgarity, threats, or other inappropriate language will not be considered.


  1.  Provide Company’s name, address, point-of-contact, phone number and email  


  1.  Provide Company’s previous work experience that is similar to that described   


  1.  Any other pertinent documentation or information.
  2.  Responses should be no longer than 10 pages.

All information submitted in response to this RFI is voluntary; the United States Government will not pay for information requested nor will it compensate any respondent for any cost incurred in developing information provided to the United States Government.


Requests for additional information should be directed to Captain Philip Hall, 301–734–1102 or uas.oar@noaa.gov.

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