Vantis, North Dakota’s statewide Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) network, has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking multiple unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), or drones, to support operational testing of beyond-visual-line-of-sight flights (BVLOS) on the network. Proposals are due by 31 December 2021.
Vantis is a network of radars, radios, and other technologies on towers that can track manned and unmanned aircraft, allowing the UAS pilot to see and avoid obstacles and fly the UAS safely, even beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot. In collaboration with our partner and system integrator, Thales, Vantis will eventually cover the entire state of North Dakota, opening the door to more common-place BVLOS flights.
Vantis has already completed developmental testing, which included using Vantis to track manned and unmanned flights in the area to be certain that all of the technologies involved were performing reliably in a variety of conditions. Operational testing involves repeating these tests with a variety of UAS to ensure that these systems continue to perform across multiple UAS platforms and use cases. Data collected during these testing phases will be used by our partners at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to confirm the safety case of the Vantis network.
The approximate RFP schedule is as follows:
- December 3, 2021 – Deadline for receipt of questions and objections related to the RFP
- December 10, 2021 – Responses to questions / RFP amendments (if required)
- December 31, 2021, 2:00 p.m. CT – Proposals due
- January 21, 2022 – Initial evaluations completed
- Scheduled demonstrations/presentations to follow
- Secondary evaluations based on demonstrations/presentations
- Notice of Intent to Award a Contract issued
- Contract issued approximately 2-4 wks. after Intent to award.
“Enabling BVLOS flights is the holy grail of the UAS industry right now,” said Trevor Woods, interim executive director of the Northern Plains UAS Test Site, which administers Vantis. “It will create opportunities and use cases across dozens of industries.”
“We’ve worked closely with our partners at the FAA to establish rigorous testing procedures to ensure that Vantis meets the highest standards of safety,” said Jim Cieplak, Vantis program manager. “This multi-UAS RFP will enable that rigorous testing, and move us one step closer to repeatable, scalable, economically-viable public and commercial BVLOS flights.”
To access the full RFP, visit: https://apps.nd.gov/csd/spo/services/bidder/main.htm
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