AeroX seeks low-altitude surveillance system to support urban drone operations

Winston-Salem, N.C. – As part of its growing effort to expand advanced drone operations in Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, North Carolina, AeroX seeks information from companies equipped to provide a ground-based surveillance system to support low-altitude traffic management.

Details of required capabilities, areas to be served and submission requirements are outlined in the Request for Information (RFI) issued today. Responses must be received by AeroX President Basil Yap via email to no later than June 10, 2022, 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Development of the surveillance system, dubbed Project ATLAS, for “air traffic low-altitude surveillance,” marks a major step forward in creating a model ecosystem for enabling routine use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS, or drones) to deliver goods and provide services in urban areas.

Key to routine drone use is the ability to fly drones beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) of the operator. That requires the ability to detect and avoid aircraft operating below 400 feet.

Project ATLAS is focused specifically on providing surveillance data on “non-cooperative aircraft,” those without transponders that help other aircraft detect and avoid them. Filling that critical surveillance data gap will support drone operators seeking Federal Aviation Administration approval to operate BVLOS, manufacturers and operators validating new detect-and-avoid systems, and AeroX and others capturing data for regional forecasting and planning for advanced drone operations. These are necessary steps for advancing the region’s UAS ecosystem and economy. Lessons learned also will be used to expand drone operations to other urban areas of North Carolina.

“Flying UAS beyond visual line of sight has been a goal of the industry and the Federal Aviation Administration. North Carolina has been a leader in advancing that goal,” said AeroX President Basil Yap. “We intend to build on that leadership with this major leap forward, ushering in a  new era of air transportation.”

AeroX aims to acquire, install, validate and test its low-altitude surveillance system by the end of 2022 and be operational in early 2023. Companies who respond to the RFI with desired technologies may be invited to submit a proposal or enter into a contract with AeroX.

AeroX will host a two-day Industry Day on May 24-25 to answer industry questions, allow respondents to view the coverage area and provide a demonstration of a UAS medical package delivery operation. RSVP at to receive event details.

Download the RFI from

AeroX is funded with public and private grants, including $5 million from the North Carolina General Assembly. It is a partner in the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s BEYOND program, one of eight programs in the country selected by the Federal Aviation Administration to pave the way for routine commercial and government drone use in the National Airspace System. North Carolina partners have achieved more national firsts and flown more missions by far than all other teams combined since the FAA launched its integration initiative in 2017.

About AeroX

AeroX is a nonprofit organization of business, government and community partners focused on facilitating the safe and efficient commercialization of unmanned aircraft systems technologies in North Carolina. It aims to capitalize on North Carolina’s prominence as an unmanned aircraft systems innovation leader by creating a national model ecosystem for advanced air mobility and a testbed for pioneering companies seeking to leverage emerging UAS technologies to grow their companies. Learn more at