The U.S. Coast Guard has kicked off a market research initiative to assess how maritime first responders and Department of Homeland Security components could use small unmanned aerial vehicles and airborne sensors.
A request for information posted Friday says the agency’s research and development center plans to conduct a series of flight tests and evaluations to determine how it can transition airborne sensors and small UAS platforms to the Coast Guard’s operational units and partners.
The RFI defines a small UAS as an aircraft with wingspans of less than six feet, weights of no more than 55 pounds and function to operate from a wireless ground station.
Vendors that are selected for the Robotic Aircraft for Maritime Public Safety project will have five flight test days at Webster Field in Maryland under a cooperative research and development agreement.
The project calls on potential vendors to carry out the tests in “simulated but realistic and relevant real-world maritime operational scenarios, such as law enforcement operations, search and rescue, and marine environmental response.”