Weekly Roundup 11/13/17

Telecom firm AT&T is using LTE-equipped drones to provide temporary cellular service in Puerto Rico. Credit: AT&T

November 6, 2017 – November 12, 2017

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News

Three U.S. drone strikes in Somalia reportedly killed several suspected members of al-Shabab. In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said that the strikes took place in the Lower Shabelle region and were carried out in coordination with the Somali government. (Associated Press)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Motherboard, Louise Matsakis writes that the Drone Racing League’s decision to host the 2018 DRL Allianz World Championship in Saudi Arabia is causing controversy.

The U.S. Drone Advisory Committee released notes from its November 8 meeting in Seattle. (PDF)

Meanwhile, at the Washington Post, Michael Laris writes that disagreements over transparency and management have complicated the proceedings of the Drone Advisory Committee.

At Defense One, Patrick Tucker writes that a Russian tank-like robot outperformed manned competitors in an exercise outside Moscow in October.

Also at Defense One, Marcus Weisgerber looks at the ways the U.S. Air Force is seeking to augment its manpower with robots.

At OpenCanada, Ernie Regehr argues that the possibility of armed drone acquisitions by the Canadian military should encourage a debate over military drones.

At Esquire, Philip Di Salvo looks at Italy’s burgeoning military drone program.

Domestic Preparedness Journal released a report based on a roundtable of experts that considered security issues associated with growing drone use.

At TechCrunch, Valery Komissarov considers the short and long-term viability of flying car concepts.

At LinkedIn, Craig Lippett looks at how companies are surviving in a competitive and evolving market for commercial drone services.

In an op-ed at the Hill, Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao argues that the FAA’s new drone regulations program will help Americans “reap the benefits of safe drone technology.”

At Air & Space Magazine, Tim Wright looks at why the Trump administration’s new drone regulations program faces some skepticism.

A report by the Teal Group forecasts that global military drone spending will be more than $100 billion over the next ten years. (Defense-Update) For more on U.S. military drone spending, click here.

At the Scientific American, Jeremy Hsu considers the lessons that drone crashes teach us about how drones may or may not threaten passenger aircraft.

At Popular Science, Dan Stamm recounts the story of Battelle’s DroneDefender counter-drone rifle.

At sUAS News, Gene Robinson offers a guide to some of the obstacles and solutions for first responder departments that are considering acquiring drones.

At DefenseNews, Fred Byus and Matthew Shaw argue that the U.S. needs to encourage public-private solutions in order to develop counter-drone weapons.

At Bloomberg, Alan Levin and Daniel Flatley write that Congress is set to reinstate the civilian drone registration program.

At the Guardian, Ian Sample profiles the growing campaign to ban lethal autonomous weapons.

At Just Security, Paul Scharre looks at how technological advances underscore the challenge of developing policy solutions to lethal autonomous weapons.

Know Your Drone

Chinese drone maker DJI unveiled new versions of its Wind series enterprise drones, as well as the FlightHub software system, which allows users to monitor the position, orientation, and speed of multiple drones simultaneously. (The Verge)

Satellite communications firm Advantech Wireless unveiled the Tactical SATCOM Network Architecture, which is designed to support unmanned aircraft operations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)  

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration awarded U.S. firm Aurora Flight Sciences a special airworthiness certificate for its optionally-piloted UH-1H helicopter. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Chinese firm AVIC Chengdu Aircraft Corporation made the first international showing of its Cloud Shadow strike and reconnaissance drone at the Dubai Airshow. (FlightGlobal)

The Ukrainian military conducted the first test flight of its Horlytsya surveillance drone. (Defense World)

Amazon unveiled a new development center in Cambridge that will house its PrimeAir drone delivery research program. (The Guardian)

As part of a program for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Inbound, Controlled, Air-Releasable, Unrecoverable Systems program, MORSE Corp. is developing an autonomous delivery drone made of a polymer that disappears when it is exposed to sunlight. (Slice of MIT)

Technology company Epson unveiled an augmented reality flight simulator for DJI drones. (The Verge)

Israeli startup vHive unveiled a cloud-based drone fleet management system. (The Drive)

French maritime technology firm iXblue unveiled the DRiX, a multi-purpose unmanned surface vessel. (Shephard Media)

Drones at Work

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a terror bulletin that describes the potential threat of weaponized drones. (ABC)

An Aerolineas Argentinas passenger jet sustained minor damage after reportedly striking a drone on final approach to Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery Aeroparque Airport. (Aviation Herald)

The Israel Defense Forces shot down a drone believed to be operated by the Syrian government over the Golan Heights. (CNN)

A court in Myanmar has sentenced two foreign journalists to a two-month prison sentence for flying a drone over the country’s parliament building in Yangon. (Associated Press)

Telecom firm AT&T is using LTE-equipped drones to provide temporary cellular service in Puerto Rico. (Ars Technica)

The U.S. Air Force has deployed counter-drone defense systems at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. (AV Web)

Officials discovered a broken drone and several contraband items on the roof of Goulburn Jail in Australia. (Goulburn Post)

The Schmidt Ocean Institute is using unmanned undersea vehicles to gather data from the islands and eastern seamounts of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Turkish security forces have seized a drone outfitted with a small explosive that they claim was operated by PKK militants. (Hurriyet Daily News)

Police in Byron, Minnesota used a drone to find an elderly man who had gone missing in a marshy area. (KTTC)

The Port of Long Beach, California announced that it will require operators wishing to fly drones in the Harbor District to obtain a permit. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

Industry Intel

The Missile Defense Agency awarded General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group an $8.9 million contract to test the Low Power Laser Demonstrator on a drone. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu a $9.8 million foreign military sales contract to provide ScanEagle hardware and support equipment to Tunisia. (FBO)

Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu a $9.2 million contract for spare and sustainment parts for the RQ-21A for the Marine Corps. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Raytheon a $7.2 million contract for three AN/DAS-3 sensors for the MQ-4C Triton. (C4ISRNet)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Composite Engineering a contract for subscale aerial target drones. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded RE2 Robotics a $125,000 SBIR grant to develop an Autonomous Robotic Cargo Handling system for helicopters. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

NASA awarded Uber a contract to develop software that will enable the operation of autonomous “flying taxis.” (The Guardian)

Boeing completed the acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences, a Virginia-based company that develops unmanned and autonomous vehicles. (Jane’s)

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