[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 110 (Thursday, June 10, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30968-30969]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-12162]


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DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Coast Guard

[Docket No. USCG-2021-0236]


Cooperative Research and Development Agreement: Evaluating 
Unmanned Surface Vessel Characteristics for Coast Guard Platforms

AGENCY: Coast Guard, DHS.

ACTION: Notice of intent; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Coast Guard is announcing its intent to enter into a 
Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Sea 
Machines Robotics. Sea Machines Robotics will work with the USCG 
Research and Development Center (RDC) to modify the currently existing 
SM300 system installed on the USCG RDC unmanned surface vessel (USV) to 
determine what parameters and behaviors would be beneficial for USCG 
mission sets. Additionally, the agreement will investigate the current 
state of collision avoidance in autonomous unmanned surface vessels 
(USVs), to develop a better understanding of how these capabilities 
should be evaluated/regulated in the future. The Coast Guard invites 
other potential non-Federal participants, who have the interest and 
capability to bring similar contributions to this type of research, to 
submit proposals for consideration in similar CRADAs.

DATES: Comments must be submitted to the online docket via http://www.regulations.gov, or reach the Docket Management Facility, on or 
before July 12, 2021.
    Synopses of proposals regarding future CRADAs must reach the Coast 
Guard (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) on or before July 12, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments online at http://www.regulations.gov 
following website instructions.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: If you have questions on this notice 
or wish to submit proposals for future CRADAs, contact Derek Meier, 
Project Official, Surface Branch, U.S. Coast Guard Research and 
Development Center, 1 Chelsea Street, New London, CT 06320, telephone 
860-271-2600, email [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Participation and Request for Comments

    We request public comments on this notice. Although we do not plan 
to respond to comments in the Federal Register, we will respond 
directly to commenters and may modify our proposal in light of 
comments.
    Comments should be marked with docket number USCG-2021-0236 and 
should provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. You 
should provide personal contact information so that we can contact you 
if we have questions regarding your comments; but please note that all 
comments will be posted to the online docket without change and that 
any personal information you include can be searchable online (see the 
Federal Register Privacy Act notice regarding our public dockets, 73 FR 
3316, Jan. 17, 2008). We also accept anonymous comments.
    We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. If your material cannot be 
submitted using http://www.regulations.gov, contact the Coast Guard 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Documents mentioned in this 
notice, and all public comments, are in our online docket at http://www.regulations.gov and can be viewed by following that website's 
instructions. Additionally, if you go to the online docket and sign up 
for email alerts, you will be notified when comments are posted or a 
final rule is published.
    Do not submit detailed proposals for future CRADAs to the Docket 
Management Facility. Instead, submit them directly to the Coast Guard 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Discussion

    CRADAs are authorized under 15 U.S.C. 3710(a).\1\ A CRADA promotes 
the transfer of technology to the private sector for commercial use, as 
well as specified research or development efforts that are consistent 
with the mission of the Federal parties to the CRADA. The Federal party 
or parties agree with one or more non-Federal parties to share research 
resources, but the Federal party does not contribute funding.
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    \1\ The statute confers this authority on the head of each 
Federal agency. The Secretary of DHS's authority is delegated to the 
Coast Guard and other DHS organizational elements by DHS Delegation 
No. 0160.1, para. II.B.34.
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    CRADAs are not procurement contracts. Care is taken to ensure that 
CRADAs are not used to circumvent the contracting process. CRADAs have 
a specific purpose and should not be confused with procurement 
contracts, grants, and other type of agreements.
    Under the proposed CRADA, the R&D Center will collaborate with one 
non-Federal participant. Together, the R&D Center and the non-Federal 
participant will evaluate which USV characteristics and parameters 
would be beneficial to the USCG mission set. Additionally, both 
partners will evaluate how collision avoidance technology should be 
validated on these platforms in the future. We anticipate that the 
Coast Guard's contributions under the proposed CRADA will include the 
following:
    1. Provide appropriate staff with expertise to accomplish the above 
mentioned tasks.
    2. Draft test plan.
    3. Provide all support resources, including travel for Coast Guard 
staff that support this CRADA.
    4. Obtain, transport, and provide all of the parts, tools, and 
equipment necessary to prepare the platform for Sea Machines Robotics 
modifications.
    5. Provide the 29RDC and qualified crew for the testing.
    6. Provide all resources required for the conduct of the testing on 
the 29RDC.
    7. Execute the testing IAW with the agreed upon test plan.
    We anticipate that the non-Federal participants' contributions 
under the proposed CRADA will include the following:

[[Page 30969]]

    1. Provide appropriate staff with expertise to support the above 
mentioned tasks.
    2. Provide all support resources, including travel for Sea Machines 
Robotics staff who support this CRADA, if required.
    3. Provide the technical data package for all equipment, including 
dimensions, weight, power requirements, and other technical 
considerations for the additional components to be utilized under this 
CRADA.
    4. Review test plan.
    5. Provide any specific training, along with technical support, to 
those Coast Guard members evaluating the technology proposals submitted 
for this CRADA.
    The Coast Guard will provide no funding for reimbursement of 
proposal development costs. Proposals and any other material submitted 
in response to this notice will not be returned. Proposals submitted 
are expected to be unclassified and have not more than five single-
sided pages (excluding cover page, DD 1494, JF-12, etc.). The Coast 
Guard will select proposals at its sole discretion on the basis of:
    (1) How well they communicate an understanding, of and ability to 
meet, the proposed CRADA's goal; and
    (2) How well they address the following criteria:
    (a) Technical capability to support the non-Federal party 
contributions described, and
    (b) Resources available for supporting the non-Federal party 
contributions described.
    Currently, the Coast Guard is considering Sea Machines Robotics for 
participation in this CRADA. This consideration is based on the fact 
that Sea Machines has demonstrated its technical ability for autonomous 
USVs and the USCG RDC currently has one of their systems installed 
aboard their 29 foot vessel. However, we do not wish to exclude other 
viable participants from this or future similar CRADAs.
    This is a technology assessment effort. The goal of the Coast Guard 
for this CRADA is to determine what USV characteristics/parameters 
would be recommended for the operational use of a Coast Guard platform 
of this size, and also to gain a better understanding of how collision 
avoidance of USVs should be validated and regulated in the future. 
Special consideration will be given to small business firms/consortia, 
and preference will be given to business units located in the U.S. This 
notice is issued under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a).

Daniel P. Keane,
Commanding Officer, U.S. Coast Guard Research and Development Center.
[FR Doc. 2021-12162 Filed 6-9-21; 8:45 am]
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