Weekly Roundup 7/2

The helicopter carrying U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a recent visit to Iraq flies over Baghdad. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

The helicopter carrying U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during a recent visit to Iraq flies over Baghdad. Credit: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

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News

The Department of Defense announced that the U.S. is flying armed drones over Baghdad in support of American military advisers who are working with the Iraqi military in the wake of the large military offensive by ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. At the Pentagon, Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters that the drones are providing aerial intelligence and force protection for U.S. Special Operations forces on the ground. More than half of the 300 American troops promised by Barack Obama have arrived in Iraq. (Associated Press)

A government audit concluded that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will miss the September 2015 deadline to submit a plan to integrate drones into the national airspace. The inspector general at the Department of Transportation found that, due to the “the magnitude of unresolved safety and privacy issues,” the FAA is far behind schedule in coming up with the integration plan. (Washington Post)

Ursula von der Leyen, the German Defense Minister, called for the U.S. military to acquire armed drones to support infantry in active combat zones. called on the German parliament to review the use of drones on a case-by-case basis. In an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung, von der Leyen said she supported the use of armed drones. Germany currently leases the Israeli Heron, an unarmed reconnaissance drone, to provide aerial coverage to ground forces in Afghanistan. (DW)

The New York Post reported that real estate agents who use drones to advertise high-end properties are under investigation  by the Federal Aviation Administration. “We’re getting [subpoenas] all over the city and the Hamptons,” an unnamed source with Halstead Realty said in an interview with the Post.

Commentary, Analysis and Art

In a new Stimson Center report, former American military and intelligence leaders criticize the Obama administration for not establishing a clear, sustainable policy on the use of drones, arguing that the President’s targeted killing campaign sets a dangerous precedent.

At Just Security, Sarah Knuckey analyzes the Stimson Center report.

At the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Jack Serle and Alice K. Ross summarize U.S. drone activity in Pakistan and Yemen over the past six months.

At Forbes, Gregory McNeal examines why the Federal Aviation Administration is cracking down on the use of drones by farmers and realtors.

At The State, Adam Rothstein takes a look at how the idea of gremlins and other mythical creatures influence our view of drones.  “The idea of strange, invisible creatures plaguing the activities of human beings extends back beyond complicated technology,” writes Rothstein.

At Motherboard, Jason Koebler writes that the delivery drones concept proposed by Amazon might face a steep uphill battle to win government approval.

At Foreign Policy, Micah Zenko argues that sending drones to Iraq is illogical and dangerous.

At the Wall Street Journal, Jack Nicas details the growing divide in the drone industry between major defense contractors and start-ups.

Know Your Drone

A team of researchers at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia are working on a project to create swarms of 3-D printed mini-drones that can build houses from scratch. (Wired)

A team from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne has developed a drone encased in a sturdy cage which can crash into objects without being damaged. (Motherboard)

Unmanned Systems Technology is a new print magazine dedicated to unmanned systems engineering.

An Air Force investigation found that a Reaper drone that crashed into Lake Ontario earlier this year suffered from multiple GPS and navigation systems failures. (Syracuse Post Standard)

Meanwhile, an Air Combat Command investigation found that a Predator drone crash in New Mexico in October of last year was caused by “loss of telemetry downlink signal and an unprogrammed pitch over.”

Australian company I-Drone is developing what it calls Projector Drone, which carries a small, lightweight projector. (sUAS News)

Drones at Work

At the Hollywood Reporter, Carolyn Giardina examines the use of drones by the film industry and what it takes for directors to get an aerial shot.

At Wired, Marcus Wohlsen profiles Skycatch, a business venture that aims to lease out drones to companies seeking accessible, high-resolution aerial imagery.

At Fast Company, Jeff Beer takes a look at the latest and greatest photos and films made using drones.

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