Vantis RFP: Multiple UAVS Vendors Needed to Support BVLOS Testing
A logo for the Vantis drone network Vantis RFP

Source: Vantis

Newly Released: Vantis RFP for UAS Vendors to Support Operational BVLOS Testing

by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian M. Crosby

North Dakota’s Statewide UAS Network, Vantis, has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) seeking multiple unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to support operational testing of beyond-visual-line-of-sight flights (BVLOS) on the network. Proposals are due by December 31, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. CT.

A network of radars, radios, and other tower-mounted technologies that track manned and unmanned aircraft, Vantis enables UAS pilots to fly safely by identifying and avoiding obstacles beyond the visual line of sight of the pilot. In partnership with system integrator Thales, Vantis will eventually cover the entire state of North Dakota, allowing for more common-place BVLOS flights.

“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.”

Vantis has previously concluded developmental testing involving utilizing the system to track manned and unmanned flights in the area to confirm that all technologies involved were performing reliably in a range of conditions. Tests were repeated with a variety of UAS to guarantee that these systems continue to perform across differing UAS platforms and use cases. Data collected from the tests will be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to confirm the safety case of the Vantis network.

“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 Vantis program manager Jim Cieplak. “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.”

The deadline for receipt of questions and objections related to the RFP is December 3rd, with responses and any required RFP amendments to follow on December 10th. More information, as well as access to the full RFP, can be found here.

Read more about Vantis, the Vantis partnership with Thales, investment in Vantis, and the expanding North Dakota drone industry.

Ian attended Dominican University of California, where he received a BA in English in 2019. With a lifelong passion for writing and storytelling and a keen interest in technology, he is now contributing to DroneLife as a staff writer.