Weekly Roundup 1/29/18

The New York State Police unveiled its new fleet of drones. Credit: NYSP

January 22, 2018 – January 28, 2018

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A U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed two members of the Haqqani network of the Afghan Taliban. According to a local police chief, the strike targeted a home in the Kurram region near the Afghan border. (Associated Press)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At the New York Times, Salman Masood reports that U.S. and Pakistani authorities are offering divergent accounts as to whether a recent drone strike in the country targeted a refugee camp.

At Wired, Rhett Allain explains why larger drones are able to fly longer than small unmanned aircraft.

At Eastern Arsenal, Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer profile Tengoen, a new Chinese firm that is building an armed strike drone and the world’s largest cargo drone.

At The New York Times, Nicholas Casey discusses how the paper’s Andes bureau uses drones and other technologies to report on stories in Latin America.

At the Wisconsin State Journal, Chris Aadland reports that the Madison Police Department’s drone program has been a success in the first eight months of operations.

At Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer reports that Hamas is doubling down on its efforts to develop sophisticated armed drones.

At RCR Wireless News, Nathan Cranford looks at five promising drone use cases.

At Forbes, Jon Hegranes considers the range of different products available in the growing counter-drone technology market.

At War on the Rocks, Jon Askonas and Colby Howard consider the effectiveness of drones in close air support missions.

At Defense One, Samuel Bendett looks at how Russia’s efforts to develop advanced robotic systems might someday catch the U.S. off-guard.

At Al-Monitor, Amr Mostafa profiles Egypt’s drone industry, which is expanding rapidly in spite of the country’s strict regulations governing unmanned aircraft.

The head of France’s special forces issued a request to the government for a range of new technologies, including a medium-altitude long-endurance drone. (Defense News)

At the Straits Times, Jonathan Pearlman considers how Australian authorities are struggling to keep up with the growing use of drones in the country.

At IHS Jane’s, Christopher Biggers writes that the UAE appears to be the first known recipient of the Chinese Wing Loong II strike drone.

A U.S. Navy official told USNI News that there has been an uptick in Iranian drone operations over the Strait of Hormuz in recent months.

At the Drone Radio Show, Bashir Khan, Alexandra McCalla, Armel Njinkeu, and Talha Javed discuss how they’re developing mechanisms to enable drone deliveries in urban spaces.

At the Drive, Joseph Trevithick writes that the U.S. Air Force is set to dramatically increase the number of MQ-9 Reaper drones deployed to Afghanistan.

At the Motley Fool, Leo Sun lists four reasons why GoPro’s Karma drone never got off the ground.

At Radio Free Europe, Tom Balmforth profiles a Russian non-profit that is using drones to take images of the luxury estates of President Putin’s allies.

Know Your Drone

Researchers at the University of Zurich and the National Centre of Competence in Research have developed a learning algorithm that allows drones to avoid obstacles with just a single camera. (New Atlas)

Russian firm Kalashnikov Group announced that it has successfully tested its Soratnik autonomous unmanned ground vehicle in “near fighting conditions.” (The National Interest)

Chinese drone maker DJI unveiled the Mavic Air, a compact consumer quadcopter. (Gizmodo)

U.S. firm Systems Technology is developing a program that would allow carrier-borne military drones to understand hand gestures used by human crews to guide aircraft around deck. (Aviation Week)

Robotics firm Doxel has developed a small unmanned ground vehicle that scans construction sites for building mistakes. (MIT Technology Review)

Chinese state-owned firm Aviation Industry Corporation of China unveiled the Wing Loong ID, a new variant of its family of medium-altitude long-endurance strike drones. (Xinhua)

In a test, U.S. defense firm General Atomics Aeronautical Systems launched and recovered an MQ-9B SkyGuardian drone via a satellite link from 300 miles away. (AIN Online)

In a demonstration for the U.S. Army, defense firm Orbital ATK integrated an Anti UAV Defense System with a Bushmaster 30mm chain gun. (Aviation Week)

Drones At Work

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office in Colorado used a drone in the search for a man wanted in the murder of a local deputy. (Fox News)

In a new round of contract negotiations with UPS, the Teamsters labor union is calling on the delivery firm to agree not to use drones or driverless vehicles. (CNBC)

An F-16 jet pilot discovered a consumer multirotor drone on a taxiway at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base in Texas. (Star-Telegram)

Researchers from the Mamirauá Institute and WWF Brazil are using drones to monitor Amazon river dolphin populations. (The Guardian)

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has been using drones to inspect the condition of aging bridges. (City Lab)

Police in Katowice, Poland have announced a plan to use sensor-equipped drones to measure air pollutant levels in the city. (The Drive)

The Longmont police department in Colorado is planning to buy four drones for a range of operations, including traffic incident investigations and search and rescue. (The Denver Post)

Police in Newport, U.K. arrested an individual for flying a drone over an F.A. Cup soccer match. (BBC)

Police in Riley County, Kansas presented plans for a drone program at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting. (The Mercury)

A drone flown by volcanologists in Bali disappeared near the Mount Agung volcano during a monitoring mission. (Newsweek)  

The United Arab Emirates General Civil Aviation Authority announced that 4,100 drone users have registered with the agency. (Gulf News)

A group of amateur detectives in the U.K. have used social media and drones to find hundreds of lost dogs. (BBC)

Industry Intel

Unmanned Traffic Management software maker Unifly and mapping services firm HERE Technologies have announced a partnership to develop airspace maps for drone use in the U.S. (AUVSI)

U.K. technology firm Effective Space announced that it has signed a deal with an unnamed satellite company to launch two drones into space to prolong the life of two satellites that are set to run out of fuel in the coming years. (Phys.org)

A new class action lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration alleges that the agency wrongfully collected the personal data of hobbyist drone users. (JDSupra)

U.S. drone data analytics startup PrecisionHawk completed a $75 million Series D funding round led by Third Point Ventures. (TechCrunch)

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman Technical Services a $12.5 million contract modification for engineering services to the RQ-5 Hunter tactical drone. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Charles River Analytics a follow-on contract for the Supervisory HMI Enabling Practical Autonomous Robot Direction hands-free control system for unmanned ground vehicles. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $49.3 million contract for MQ-9 Reaper software development. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force awarded AAI Corp. a $15.7 million contract for contractor-owned and contractor-operated unmanned aircraft for intelligence-gathering. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy announced that it intends to raise the ceiling on a contract with Sierra Nevada Corporation for work on the MQ-4C Triton from $12.5 million to $45 million due to increased requirements. (FBO)

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions will open a new facility to design and build jet-powered drones in Oklahoma. (Associated Press)

UMS Skeldar announced that it has been awarded a contract to provide the Skeldar V-200 rotary wing drone for the European Defense Agency’s OCEAN2020 program. (Shephard Media)

Elistair, a France-based manufacturer of tethered drones, raised $2.5 million in a funding round led by Starquest Capital. (Shephard Media)

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