Weekly Roundup 1/27/20

January 20, 2019 – January 26, 2020

At the Center

At Foreign Policy, Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Arthur Holland Michel argues that the debate around lethal autonomous weapons systems should be expanded to consider certain forms of lethality-enabling AI.

Top Stories

Swiss Post announced that it will resume its delivery drone pilot program, which was suspended last year following two crashes. An independent review board found that the company could safely re-launch operations if it follows a series of recommendations, including the establishment of an oversight body and improved safety protocols for Matternet, the drone delivery firm that serves as Swiss Post’s technical partner for the project. (The Verge)

Know Your Drone

Chinese firm Tengoen completed the maiden flight of a three engine variant of its TW328/TB001 strike-capable medium-altitude long-endurance drone. (Jane’s)

Counter-drone systems maker Dedrone unveiled the RF-160, a radio frequency drone detection system. (Unmanned Systems Technology) For more on counter-drone systems, click here.

Israeli defense firm Rafael unveiled an updated version of its Spike Firefly loitering munition and announced that the system can now be integrated into ground vehicles. (Jane’s)

U.S. firm General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is conducting a series of demonstrations of an MQ-1C Grey Eagle ER drone equipped with a range of long-range sensors for directing tactical ballistic missiles. (FlightGlobal)

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory is developing a flapless wing for possible use aboard drones and inhabited aircraft. (C4ISRNET)

Spanish firm Unmanned Teknologies Applications conducted a test in which an unmanned surface vessel was remotely controlled over a 4G wireless network. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

The U.S. Air Force has conducted the fourth flight test of the XQ-58A Valkyrie, an experimental drone. (Air Force Magazine)

Drones at Work

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has launched an investigation into the crash of a University of Iowa Latitude HQ-90B at a mobile home park drone during a test on December 18. (The Gazette)

The Philippine Air Force has launched operations of its new Hermes 900 medium-altitude, long-endurance drone. (Jane’s)

Malawi’s Department of Civil Aviation launched the African Drone and Data Academy, a training center for unmanned systems technologies. (Global Voices)

Japan Airlines and the city of Yabu are launching a medical drone delivery pilot program. (FlightGlobal)

Cambodian officials are investigating a Chinese Cai-Hong-92A drone that was found crashed in Koh Kong province. (VOD News) Center co-director Dan Gettinger provided commentary for this story.

A woman in Maine said that local police were unable to anything about a drone that harassed her for two days. (Associated Press)

Industry Intel

Boeing and Tactical Robotics have partnered to explore opportunities for fancraft-based vertical take-off and landing drones. (Shephard Media)

A joint drone project led by BWR Israel and Easy Aerial USA has been awarded a $1 million grant by the BIRD Foundation. (Jerusalem Post)

South Dakota has signed a participating addendum with Avion Unmanned to provide drone services to the state’s public agencies. (Press Release)

Raytheon announced that it has delivered the tenth AN/AQS-20C minehunting sonar for the U.S. Navy’s MCM Unmanned Surface Vehicle. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

U.S. air traffic management startup Airspace Link raised $4 million in seed funding. (TechCrunch)

NTT DOCOMO, Japan’s leading mobile phone provider, announced that it will collaborate with U.S. drone manufacturer Skydio on the development and sale of drones. (Press Release)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At SPIE, Jeff Hecht looks at whether lasers may be the solution to the counter-drone challengeCenter co-director Arthur Holland Michel provided commentary for this story.

A new report at Drone Wars UK examines media coverage of British citizens killed in drone strikes.

At WTOP, Kristi King looks at how drone deliveries are progressing in Christiansburg, Virginia.

At the Financial Times, Kiran Stacey reports that a number of industry groups are opposing the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s proposed rules for remote identification systems for drones.

At Forbes, Deniz Çam and Christopher Helman profile the Neal and Linden Blue, the two brothers behind the U.S. military drone manufacturer General Atomics.

At the OC Register, Lou Ponsi writes that college students in southern California are using drones to help study shark behavior.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said that the mysterious drones that were spotted flying over Colorado and Nebraska have yet to be identified. (Yahoo Finance)

At Air Force Magazine, Rachel S. Cohen writes that U.S. defense firm Raytheon is advocating for the Department of Defense to expand its efforts to counter a broad range of unmanned aircraft.

Market analysis firm Clutch released a survey that it claims shows that 36 percent of online shoppers would be more likely to buy a particular product if it was delivered by a drone. (Fox Business)