Military Embedded Systems

FAA solicits SIR for UAS research and test sites, begins privacy policy comment period


February 15, 2013

Brandon Lewis

Technology Editor

Embedded Computing Design

FAA solicits SIR for UAS research and test sites, begins privacy policy comment period

WASHINGTON. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) solicited Screening Information Requests (SIRs) yesterday to develop six Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) research and test sites around the United States. As part of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, the program will conduct critical research on the integrating UAS platforms into national airspace in the coming years, as well as the navigation and certification requirements needed for such integration. The FAA’s technical evaluation of proposals will consider climactic and geographic diversity, research needs and location of ground infrastructure, and population and air traffic density, among other specific goals and objectives.

Selection of test sites is scheduled for later this year, and applicants have 80 days to submit research and test site proposals to the FAA via the Screening Information Request (SIR) process, available on the FAA Contracting Opportunities website at

“We expect to learn how unmanned aircraft systems operate in different environments and how they will impact air traffic operations,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “The test sites will also inform the agency as we develop standards for certifying unmanned aircraft and determine necessary air traffic requirements.”

Under the proposal, site operators will be obligated to comply with federal, state, and other individual privacy laws, and ensure that privacy policies are informed by the Fair Information Practice Principles framework. Violation of privacy laws in either a criminal or civil manner, as viewed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) or state law enforcement authorities, may result in the suspension or modification of test site operations by the FAA until the completion of proceedings. If proceedings prove operations to be in violation of law(s), the FAA may terminate test site operations altogether.

The FAA will send a notice to the Federal Register requesting that the public review and comment on the draft privacy language so that it may consider them as it finalizes privacy requirements between the sites and the FAA. A 60-day comment period is being provided, and the current privacy proposal is available at

“Our focus is on maintaining and improving the safety and efficiency of the world's largest aviation system,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This research will give us valuable information about how best to ensure the safe introduction of this advanced technology into our nation’s skies.”


Unmanned - Test