Weekly Roundup 3/5/18

A computer simulation of a possible Russian nuclear-armed underwater drone. Image via RU-RTR Russian Television.

February 26, 2018 – March 4, 2018

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Top Stories

In a speech in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin provided new details about the development of a nuclear-armed underwater drone. Putin argued that the country’s new weapons like the undersea drone could evade U.S. defenses in the event of an attack. Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said that the U.S. military was not surprised by the announcement. (Associated Press)

The China Academy of Aerospace Aerodynamics is developing a new variant of the Caihong-4 surveillance and strike drone. According to Jane’s International Defence Review, the new variant, designated CH-4C, will have greater carrying capacity and improved electronics, and will be armed with 100-kg-class precision guided bombs.

Know Your Drone

Estonian robotics firm Milrem unveiled a new version of its THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle. (Estonian World)

Turkey’s Defence Minister has announced that defense firm Baykar Makina will develop a 4.5-tonne strike drone. (Jane’s)

A team from University Centre in Svalbard has developed a 3D-printed hyperspectral imager light enough to fit on small drones. (Science Daily)

Counter-drone technology firm Dedrone unveiled the RF-300, a C-UAS system capable of detecting both rogue drones and their pilots. (Press Release)

Italian defense firm Leonardo completed a successful unmanned maiden flight of its SW-4 Solo optionally piloted helicopter. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

European drone maker Parrot has developed an app that can automatically edit drone footage into short videos. (Engadget)

French firm ECA Group unveiled the A18-M, an unmanned undersea vehicle designed for mine countermeasures. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

U.S. defense firm Northrop Grumman has begun work on an open-based architecture testbed for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency OFFSET swarming program. (Jane’s)

Swiss drone maker Wingtra unveiled the WingtraOne PPK, a fixed-wing drone designed for precision photogrammetry missions. (Geospatial World)

According to Russian state-owned news outlet RIA Novosti, the Russian Air Force is developing a long-range supersonic strike drone. (The National Interest)

In a bid to reduce manpower requirements, the Singapore Armed Forces has started live trials of unmanned and artificially intelligent systems. (Shephard Media)

Drones at Work

A team from the University of Exeter is using drones to track sea turtles in remote locations. (Science Daily)

Italian fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana used drones to display handbags on the runway at a fashion show in Milan. (The Drive)

San Diego State University has opened an innovation center dedicated to unmanned systems technology. (The Drive)

Police in Lincolnshire, England used a drone equipped with a thermal sensor to find a man who was lying in a ditch in freezing temperatures following a car crash. (BBC)

The Winter Olympics closing ceremony featured a coordinated swarm of 300 light show drones. (The Drive)

Police in Queensland, Australia will deploy drone jamming systems at this year’s Commonwealth Games. (Tech Radar)

Police in Moore County, North Carolina used a drone to help find a missing 11-year-old girl. (WTVD)

The Polish government plans to establish an area of restricted airspace to test unmanned aircraft. (Radio Poland)

The Duluth Fire Department has submitted a proposal to acquire a number of drones for emergency operations. (Firehouse)

The U.S. Air Force officially activated its 50th Attack Squadron, which will operate MQ-9 Reapers from Shaw Air Force Base. (The Sumter Item)

Firefighters in Rogersville rescued a man who had become stuck 40 feet up a tree while trying to retrieve his drone. The emergency responders were unable to retrieve the drone. (The Rogersville Review)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Navy awarded Kratos Unmanned Aerial Systems a $24.4 million contract for the Subsonic Aerial Target BQM-177A and related equipment. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $13.2 million contract for the Battlefield Airborne Communication Node, a payload on the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (DoD)

Locust USA and the U.S. Army have partnered on a $19 million project to develop an efficient small turboprop gas turbine engine for small drones. (AUVSI)

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded the University of Missouri-Kansas City $15 million in funding for research on counter-drone technology. (Kansas City Star)

A new partnership between Boeing and the Australian state of Queensland aims to promote local companies that export supporting equipment for airborne and maritime drones. (Jane’s)

Spain’s Ministry of Defense has opened bidding for the Condor counter-drone acquisition program. (Jane’s)

Thales Australia awarded Steber International a $4.6 million contract for work on an unmanned surface vehicle for the Australian military. (Jane’s)

Counter-drone startup Citadel announced that it has completed a $12 million Series A funding round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. (FinSMEs)

MDA has commissioned a fleet of Schiebel Camcopter S-100 rotary-wing drones. (UAS Weekly)

Edgybees, a Santa Clara-based startup that is developing augmented reality for drones, has raised $5.5 million in venture capital funding. (TechCrunch)

A report by Aerospace Industries Associated estimates that the drone industry will grow to $30 billion by 2036 and support 60,000 jobs. (AINonline)

Johns Hopkins University has partnered with SolAero to develop a integrated solar wing for the AeroVironment Puma drone. (Aerospace Manufacturing and Design)

Swiss autonomy startup Daedalean partnered with UAVenture to develop and integrate navigation systems for commercial drones. (Press Release)

Israel’s Mobilicom has partnered with Swift Engineering, a U.S. firm that builds long-range commercial drones, to integrate Mobilicom communications into the Swift020 drone. (Proactive Investors)  

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Fstoppers, Steve Cullen takes a deep dive on the restrictions on flying drones over U.S. public lands like national parks.

At Inside Unmanned Systems, James Poss argues that remote identification for drones would not be effective if the FAA exempts hobbyist drones.

At Law360, John O’Brien considers the legal consequences for drone users following an accident.

At The Hill, Christopher Koopman and Michael Kotrous argue that the level of risk posed by drones to manned aviation has not changed in a significant way.

At iRevolutions, Patrick Meier provides a report on field testing of medical cargo drones in the Dominican Republic.

At DroneLife, Miriam McNabb writes that heavier rotary-wing drones could start playing a larger role in commercial operations.

In a Drone Radio Show podcast, Dor Abuahsira discusses the regulatory and practical implications of autonomous drone operations.

At Small Wars Journal, George Galdorisi argues that the U.S. military must establish new guiding principles for the development of the next generation of drones.

At the Cleburne Times-Review, Jessica Pounds looks at how a statewide public safety drone program in Texas is putting drones in the hands of police officers and game wardens.

At Duke University, Will Sheehan looks at how drones could reduce the use of agricultural herbicide by 90 percent.  

In an interview at Pacific Standard, Todd Dawson explains how drones and advanced sensors can be used to collect new data on water systems and the shifting climate.

At Breaking Defense, Arie Egozi looks at the increasingly important role that small drones are playing in Israeli infantry units.

At Drone Wars UK, Chris Cole calculates that the cost of U.K. air operations in Iraq and Syria has exceeded $2.4 billion.

At the Motley Fool, Lou Whiteman considers what Boeing’s decision to join the General Atomics team in the MQ-25 Stingray competition says about the company’s strategy in advanced aviation.

At the Wall Street Journal, Julian E. Barnes and Josh Chin consider how Chinese and U.S. investment in artificial intelligence could spur a new arms race.  

In a video at the New York Times, Christoph Koettl, David Botti, Barbara Marcolini, and Malachy Browne use social media to piece together a Turkish drone operation that targeted Kurdish fighters in Syria.

At Quartz, Johnny Simon writes that the Sony 2018 World Photography Awards reveal that drones are increasingly an essential tool for photographers.

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