Bids taken for drone testing on Camp Edwards

By GEORGE BRENNAN | Cape Cod Times, Hyannis, Mass. (MCT) | Published: September 3, 2014

CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. — A state economic development agency has begun accepting bids from companies interested in testing drones at Joint Base Cape Cod.

On Monday, MassDevelopment began seeking proposals from companies interested in management and operation of the Massachusetts test site for unmanned aircraft systems, according to a copy of the advertisement provided by Kelsey Abbruzzese, a spokeswoman for the agency.

MassDevelopment is a quasi-public agency geared toward economic development opportunities.

The agency is working with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance, which is located at Griffiss International Airport in New York.

The Massachusetts-New York partnership was one of six across the United States picked by the Federal Aviation Administration to test how drones can be safely integrated into the airspace shared with commercial aircraft.

Last month, the New York facility was cleared by the FAA to begin testing.

Although the Massachusetts site is to be located on Massachusetts National Guard land at the Upper Cape military base, it will be a civilian operation. The Guard is leasing space for the testing site at Camp Edwards.

In the document provided by Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment is looking for a company that is oriented toward customer service and safety, is risk-conscious and a proactive performer. Among the other criteria that will be considered are companies with business development experience, those with experience operating a drone test site and the ability to work with industries and academic institutions involved in the unmanned aircraft industry, according to the document.

MassDevelopment is seeking completed proposals by Oct. 3 with a series of dates in between to seek answers to questions before bidders make final submissions.

A seven-member panel will review the bids to determine if any meet the criteria to manage and operate the testing site at Joint Base Cape Cod.

Last month, Abbruzzese said she expected drone testing on the Cape to begin in the next couple of months. She did not respond to a call or email seeking further comment Tuesday.

©2014 the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.)

Visit the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) at www.capecodonline.com

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