Weekly Roundup 10/16/17

Airmen with the 163d Attack Wing monitor wildfires in northern California. California’s Air National Guard activated two MQ-9 Reapers to support firefighting efforts. Credit: Senior Airman Crystal Housman/U.S. Air National Guard

October 9, 2017 – October 15, 2017

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At the Center for the Study of the Drone

Center for the Study of the Drone Co-director Dan Gettinger spoke with The Economist about police drones. For more on public safety drones, click here.


The Trump administration is advancing policies that loosen restrictions on the export of U.S. military drones. In addition to relaxing domestic export control regulations, the Trump administration is also seeking to renegotiate a portion of the Missile Technology Control Regime, an international agreement that governs missile and drone sales. The changes are likely to be implemented by the end of the calendar year. (Reuters)

A U.S. federal advisory committee has failed to reach consensus on a program for detecting and tracking drones in domestic airspace. The Drone Advisory Committee, which was established by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2016, could not agree on whether all drones should be subject to electronic identification and tracking, or merely certain types of systems. The disagreement within the committee could delay the implementation of additional regulations by the FAA. (Wall Street Journal)

An unconfirmed report by British tabloid The Sun suggests that U.K. citizen and ISIS recruiter Sally-Anne Jones was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Syria in June. The report, which has not been confirmed publicly by either U.S. or U.K. officials, suggests that the strike also killed Jones’s 12-year-old son, Jojo. (BBC)

The Federal Aviation Administration is expediting the implementation of a system to approve drone flights near airports. The move is in response to an increase in the number of drone sightings around airports. (Bloomberg)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At National Defense Magazine, Jon Harper looks at how the U.S. Army is prioritizing the development of unmanned ground vehicles and robots.

At GPS World, Tracy Cozzens looks at why drones are at the forefront of advances in marine surveying.

At Engadget, Andrew Tarantola considers how law enforcement should address the growing number of cases involving criminal drone use.

At Delmarva Now, Susan Parker looks at how researchers at the Crisfield UAS Test Site in Maryland are testing agricultural drones.

At FlightGlobal, Arie Egozi writes that new Israeli restrictions on drone exports are making life harder for the country’s drone makers.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have found that aerial imagery from drones might not be useful in certain situations. (Phys.org)

At the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Ariane Tabatabai offers a summary of Iran’s military and civilian drone program.

At the Army Times, Todd South writes that the U.S. Army is looking at how surveillance drones could be used to create sophisticated topographical maps.

At CNBC, Uptin Saiidi looks at how Singapore’s SkyDroner counter-drone system is designed to defend key installations against drones.

At the Los Angeles Times, Hillary Davis writes that the City Council of Newport Beach is choosing to forgo new regulations in favor of educating drone users.

At Fortune, Aaron Pressman looks at why the Drone Advisory Committee’s failure to agree to drone tracking regulations is a setback for the commercial drone industry.

At Drone Wars, Chris Cole argues that the U.K. should discontinue its use of drones following the defeat of ISIS.

At IEEE Spectrum, Tekla S. Perry writes that some police departments are looking to canine units as an example of how to integrate drones into their work.

At Army Times, Shawn Snow looks at how special operations forces might use the Mistral Hero-series of loitering munitions.

At Bloomberg Businessweek, Mark Bergen and Joshua Brustein write that Google’s forays into advanced robotics have produced little of substance.

In an interview at the Cipher Brief, Peter W. Singer argues that China is on the “cutting edge” of unmanned systems.

Aerial cinematographer Douglas Thron used a drone to capture footage of a postal service truck making deliveries in a burned-out neighborhood in California. (SFGate)

Know Your Drone

Chinese dronemaker DJI unveiled an electronic identification and monitoring system that allows users to see the serial number, registration number, and other information about DJI drones flying nearby. (ZDNet)  

Meanwhile, DJI unveiled the Zenmuse X7, a Super 35 digital camera for drones. (TechCrunch)

The U.S. Navy released its final request for proposals for the MQ-25 Stingray refuelling drone, and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems released images of its proposed design for the aircraft. (USNI News)

Chinese aerospace firm Tengoen completed the maiden flight of its TB001 Twin-tailed Scorpion reconnaissance and strike drone. (Jane’s)

U.S. defense firm Raytheon unveiled a buggy equipped with a multispectral counter-drone turret and laser. (Wired)

U.S. robotics firm Stratom unveiled the eXpeditionary Robotic Platform, an unmanned ground vehicle that is designed to be deployed from the Marine Corps’ V22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. (Jane’s)

Defense firm Ukrainian Armor unveiled a system that pairs its Varta armed truck with a surveillance drone and three small strike drones. (Jane’s)

Researchers at William Carey University are examining the possibility of using drones to deliver medical kits to hard-to-reach areas following natural disasters. (CNN)

Automaker GM has unveiled the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, a concept for an optionally manned chassis that can be converted into a range of unmanned ground vehicles. (Defense Update)

The U.S. Army is moving ahead with an evaluation to determine the feasibility of using drones to evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield. (Jane’s)

Drone maker Quantum-Systems unveiled the Trinity, a fixed-wing vertical take-off and landing drone for commercial applications. (sUAS News)  

Renishaw Canada has developed a 3D printed titanium drone that can reach speeds of Mach 0.8. (UAV Expert News)

Defense firm Israel Aerospace Industries confirmed that it has conducted testing of a new version of the Panther vertical take-off and landing drone that it is offering to the South Korean military. (FlightGlobal)

U.S. drone maker AeroVironment unveiled a new version of its Puma surveillance drone that can carry heavier payloads than previous variants. (Jane’s)

Drones at Work

U.S. delivery drone startup Flirtey is launching a defibrillator drone program for cardiac arrest victims in Nevada. (USA Today)

Search and rescue workers in Las Cruces, New Mexico used a drone to find a missing person in a remote area. (Las Cruces Sun News)

The Town of Fairfield, Connecticut is using drones to study a stretch of road that is prone to congestion. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

Officials in Babylon, New York are using drones to survey properties in a bid to expedite their applications for government assistance in the event of a major natural disaster. (Newsday)

The City of Salinas in California is set to begin using drones for inspections, surveys, and damage assessments. (KAZU)

Police in Casper, Wyoming have acquired a drone for a range of operations. (Casper Star-Tribune)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Navy awarded AeroVironment a $2.5 million contract for the Blackwing, a small, submarine-launched drone. (Naval Technology)

The U.S. Army awarded Leonardo DRS a contract estimated to be worth up to $42 million for a counter-drone system. (Vertical Mag)

NASA awarded Oneida County, New York contracts worth $2.5 million to examine ways of integrating drones into the national airspace. (Observer-Dispatch)

Petuum, an artificial intelligence company, raised $93 million in a venture funding round led by SoftBank Group. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Martin UAV is marketing its vertical take-off drone to U.S. military customers. (Defense News)

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