The government wants information briefings for An Open Day meeting in late October on technologies and processes to reduce cost, size, weight and power systems so fixed wing and rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicles (UAS) can perform sense and avoid (SAA) other aircraft.

The Open Day meeting is planned for October 28-29 at the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., to hear selected presentations.

The government group UAS Executive Committee (EXCOM), consists of representatives from the Department of Defense (DoD), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA),NASA and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Army Gray Eagle UAS Photo: U.S. Army
Army Gray Eagle UAS
Photo: U.S. Army

Congress directed formation of the UAS EXCOM in 2009, the Request for Information on said. The group is to “act as a focal point for resolution of issues on matters of policy and procedures relating to UAS access to the (National Airspace) NAS,” and “identify solutions to the range of technical, procedural, and policy concerns arising in the integration of DoD UAS into the NAS in order to achieve the increasing, and ultimately routine, access of such systems into the NAS.”

A key challenge to operating and integrating UAS into the NAS is how UAS can sense and avoid other aircraft.

To ensure sound technical approaches to overcome this challenge, the UAS EXCOM Senior Steering Group (SSG) sponsors a Science and Research Panel (SARP) composed of experts from organizations performing sense and avoid research.  One of the SARP’s primary purposes is to promote partnerships between government agencies and the broader academic and science community on UAS NAS Integration science and research initiatives.

To better inform SAA research needs and to understand ongoing investigations of potential solutions, the SARP wants informational briefs on several topics: technologies that reduce cost, size, weight, and/or power for onboard detection of non-cooperative aircraft, such as radar, LIDAR, and optical systems;  modification of  design and/or performance standards for cooperative surveillance technologies to accommodate UAS; and the application of detection technologies from other industries–such as automotive–that may be adapted to UAS sense and avoid.

Other topics for briefings include: surveillance technologies and processes for ground or air that may accomplish SAA for beyond line of sight small UAS operations at low altitudes; processes that can reduce certification costs of hardware and/or software for small UAS equipped with SAA with emphasis on accommodating software of unknown pedigree; and technologies and processes that provide a means of reliably fusing data from multiple dissimilar reduced cost, size, weight, and power surveillance sources.

A key objective of the meeting is to inform SARP research recommendations to the UAS EXCOM SSG for the topics addressed in this RFI.

The RFI said industry submissions will be selected for presentation based on technical merit, ingenuity, practicality of use in the NAS, potential to improve affordability, and the degree to which the presentation reflects the intent of the RFI.

Also at the Open Day Meeting, the SARP plans to update its recent activities.

Submissions must come in no later than Aug. 24 to Contract Specialist Ms. Courtney Holbrook, at

[email protected]. No phone calls will be accepted.