Weekly Roundup 1/8/18

Houthi forces in Yemen captured an underwater drone. Via Business Insider

January 1, 2018 – January 7, 2017

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At the Center for the Study of the Drone

As part of our ongoing effort to track drone deployments worldwide, we discovered imagery from November that appears to show a new Chinese Wing Loong I strike drone at a Pakistani air base.


TechCrunch has reported that GoPro will lay off between 200 and 300 employees, mostly from the division that produced its Karma drone. The Karma, a small consumer quadcopter, was subject to a recall early in its production run due to technical issues, and has experienced slow sales compared to its competitors in the market. (TechCrunch)

A British court has ruled that the U.K. government may not maintain a blanket ban on the public release of information regarding drone strikes. The court has directed the government to balance national security concerns against public interests when processing freedom of information requests on the issue. (The Guardian)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At The Register, Gareth Corfield writes that a recent British aviation safety study may have overstated the risks that drones pose to manned aircraft.

At The Drive, Tyler Rogoway takes a closer look at what we know about Boeing’s proposal for the U.S. Air Force’s MQ-25 Stingray refueler drone competition.

Meanwhile, at Aviation Week, Graham Warwick highlights several elements of stealth aircraft design in Boeing’s Stingray prototype.

At Commercial UAV News, Ash Sharma predicts what the coming year could hold for the European drone industry.  

At Forbes, entrepreneur and activist Leah LaSalla discusses her startup that is developing drones to counter gun violence.

At Defense News, Aaron Mehta considers whether the U.S. will take the lead in developing artificially intelligent weapons.

At the Daily Beast, Lachlan Markay reports that former Trump adviser Roger Stone is lobbying for an expansion of U.S. drone strikes in Somalia.

At Drone Wars UK, Chris Cole considers how the U.K.’s military drone program might evolve in the wake of the collapse of ISIL.

At the Reykjavik Grapevine, Paul Fontaine writes that while it may be illegal to shoot down a drone over your property in Iceland, there may be other ways of disabling it.

At USNI News, Ben Werner explores how Houthi forces in Yemen captured a U.S. underwater drone.

At Power Engineering International, Elaine Whyte discusses the importance of drones to the energy and utilities sector.

At the Guardian, Karen McVeigh writes that drone delivery startup Zipline has delivered more than 5,500 units of blood to remote regions in Rwanda over the past year.

At Mining-Technology.com, Molly Lempriere describes how drones developed by Swiss firm Flyability are able to navigate narrow spaces.

Know Your Drone

The U.S. Department of Defense Defense Enterprise Science Initiative has announced a grant program to support university and industry research groups in the development of highly maneuverable bio-inspired micro drones. (Defense One)

UAE-based unmanned marine systems maker Al Marakeb unveiled the B7X, an optionally manned drone boat. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

A researcher at the Netherlands Aerospace Centre is looking to build a circular runway for drones at Valkenburg airport near the Hague. (BBC)

German firm TeAx Technology unveiled an Ethernet interface for thermal cameras on drones. (Press Release)

Drones at Work

A U.S. exploration firm is planning to deploy a fleet of unmanned undersea vehicles to search for debris from Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. (Newsweek)

Police in New Zealand charged a man with endangering a transport facility after he allegedly flew a drone that grounded eight helicopters fighting a fire near the town of Wanaka. (Otago Daily Times)

Israel’s Knesset State Control Committee unveiled a task force that will study the public safety risks posed by drones to the country’s airspace. (Times of Israel)

In a study of unauthorized drone use near military facilities in the D.C. area last year, the Department of Defense detected nearly 100 unmanned aircraft operating in close proximity to the Pentagon over a two month period. (Stars and Stripes)

The Lakewood Police Department in Washington State has acquired a drone for a range of operations. (Press Release)

Aerial video firm Man and Drone released a video showing a drone herding a flock of sheep. (The Drive)

Industry Intel

Chinese drone maker DJI issued a press release addressing concerns about the security of user data and confirming that an investigation by Kivu Consulting is ongoing. (DJI)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Aurora Flight Sciences a contract valued up to $48 million for continued development of the Orion, a long-endurance drone that can fly for more than 100 hours. (Shephard Media)

AeroVironment has partnered with Japan’s SoftBank on the development of high-altitude pseudo-satellites. (FlightGlobal)

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $14.2 million contract modification for Block 5 upgrade kits for the MQ-9 Reaper. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Kratos Defense and Security Solutions a $93 million contract for advanced target drones. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The U.S. Army awarded Stryke Industries a contract to apply the ScenGen artificial intelligence engine to the Army’s fleet of MQ-1C Gray Eagle, RQ-7B Shadow, and MQ-5B Hunter drones. (Press Release)

U.K. commercial drone services firm COPTRZ launched a new drone leasing program. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

The International Drone Racing Association launched a new, simplified drone insurance policy for drone pilots. (Insurance Journal)

PwC UK launched a unit focused on providing drone data to clients in the infrastructure, agriculture, and transport sectors. (Press Release)

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One comment

  1. Excellent, and extremely useful weekly roundup. It’s interesting to read drone-related news that isn’t all related to military/intelligence/defence/security drones, i.e. DJI and the security of user data, GoPro employee layoffs, and more notably, the flourishing of Zipline and Lea LaSalla’s idea to use drones to counter gun violce. These last two pieces of information are very useful in reshaping the public’s perception and understanding of the true meaning of “drone”, which we find is overwhelmingly (and erroneously so) misunderstood as meaning or referring to autonomous military and intelligence killing machines. Companies like Zipline and the one contemplated by Lea LaSalla (using drones to combat gun violence) are perfect examples of the multiple different ways that drones can be used for good and important societal objectives.

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