Weekly Roundup 10/23/17

Drone firm Flirtey is plans to unveil a defibrillator drone delivery in 2018. Credit: Flirtey

October 16, 2017 – October 22, 2017

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The leader of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a Pakistani Taliban splinter group responsible for multiple suicide attacks in recent years, was reportedly critically injured by a U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan. While a spokesperson for the group confirmed the strike, a second statement from the group denied that Omar Khalid Khorasani had been killed. (Reuters)

Meanwhile, multiple suspected U.S. drone strikes reportedly killed 31 people on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. According to local officials who spoke with Reuters, the strikes targeted Taliban bases near the location where a family of Canadian-American hostages had been rescued days earlier. (Reuters)

The U.S. military announced that it carried out a drone strike against al-Shabab approximately 35 miles southwest of Mogadishu. The strike was conducted in response to the recent terrorist attack on Somalia’s capital that killed more than 300 people. (Associated Press)

A U.S. drone strike in Yemen reportedly killed three members of al-Qaeda. The strike targeted a vehicle in the southeastern Bayda province. (Associated Press)

A civilian drone struck a small commercial aircraft in Canada on October 12 near Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport. According to Canada’s aviation regulatory agency, the passenger plane sustained minor damages. It is the first collision in Canada involving a drone and a manned aircraft. (Aviation International Online)

The Federal Aviation Administration has granted CNN permission to fly drones over people. It is the first such waiver that the FAA has issued. The FAA continues to also issue waivers that permit drone operations at night and beyond the line-of-sight of the operator. (USA Today)

The Trump administration is set to unveil an initiative aimed at improving the coordination on drone regulations between federal, state, and local authorities. The Wall Street Journal reported that the plan, which was devised by the Federal Aviation Administration, would split the airspace below 400 feet between federal and local authorities. The program may be tested in 10 or more locations around the United States. For more on local drone regulations, click here.

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

An event at the Stimson Center considered the changes in drone strike policies under the Trump administration. (YouTube)

At the Wall Street Journal, Andy Pasztor looks at how an FAA program is seeking to ease the burden on air traffic controllers when it comes to approving drone flights near airports.

At the Drone Radio Show, Diana Marina Cooper discusses the latest developments in federal drone regulations.

At USNI News, Megan Eckstein looks at how Boeing and Lockheed Martin are planning to develop the Extra Large Unmanned Underwater Vehicle for the U.S. Navy.

At Reuters, Jibran Ahmad considers what might happen to Jamaat-ul-Ahrar in the wake of the U.S. drone strike that reportedly killed its leader.

At East Pendulum, Henri Kenhmann looks at how a little-known Chinese company developed the TB001 Scorpion, a medium-altitude long-endurance surveillance and strike drone.

At The Drive, Marco Margaritoff looks at how researchers at Arizona State University are developing brain-controlled drone navigation systems.

At Motherboard, Samantha Cole describes how a collection of more than 10,000 drone images illustrates the devastating damage caused by California’s wildfires.

Also at Motherboard, Samantha Cole writes that a heavily promoted “robot battle” on Twitch was actually filmed over the course of several days.

At Lawfare, Hayley Evans breaks down the U.K.’s new doctrine on unmanned aerial vehicles.

At Just Security, Luke Hartig weighs the opportunities and challenges presented by the imminence standard for counterterrorism operations.

At the Modern War Institute, Dan Gettinger lists five books that offer insights into the development and operations of military drones.

At Aviation Week, Lara Seligman writes that the Air Force is considering replacing the J-Stars manned surveillance aircraft with a modified Global Hawk drone.

At The Cipher Brief, Doug Wise considers what swarms of Chinese drones might mean for U.S. Navy operations.

A new report suggests that alarm companies could reduce response time to a few minutes by using drones. (AUVSI)

At iRevolutions, Patrick Meier and Adam Curry describe a recent collaboration between WeRobotics and the Peruvian Ministry of Health that set out to test delivery drones in the Amazon Rainforest.

At Aviation International Online, Mike Yeo writes that the Australian Navy is continuing to test the Schiebel S-100 Camcopter despite several crashes.

Know Your Drone

Drone maker Aerovel conducted a 32-hour test flight of its Flexrotor tailsitter drone. (Aviation Week)

U.S. startup Built Robotics is developing an unmanned excavator. (Wired)

Amazon has been awarded a patent for a drone that can be used to recharge electric vehicles that run out of power in remote locations. (Popular Mechanics)

For more on Amazon’s patents, click here.

Researchers from the Autonomous Systems Laboratory and ETH Zurich are developing a solar-powered drone capable of long-endurance operations. (Elektrek)

The U.S. Navy has integrated its Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis system, which is used for detecting mines and submarines, aboard its MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter drone. (Scout)

Korean Air Aerospace Division and Korean Aerospace Industries showcased a range of military unmanned aircraft systems and prototypes at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition. (Jane’s)

Meanwhile, defense firm Rafael has offered to integrate its Drone Dome laser into South Korea’s domestically developed counter-drone system. (Jane’s)

Drones at Work

The city of Chapel Hill in North Carolina has passed an ordinance governing drone use. (Daily Tar Heel)

The California Air National Guard flew an MQ-9 Reaper drone in support of firefighting operations during the recent fires in California. (Department of Defense)

Meanwhile, California’s fire agency announced that several drones have been spotted in the vicinity of firefighting efforts in California, and that one drone operator was arrested by the California Highway Patrol. (UPI)

A Belgian unmanned aircraft crashed during a training flight near Beja air base in Portugal. (Jane’s)

The Australian Institute of Marine Science is using a Wave Glider unmanned surface vehicle to collect data in the Great Barrier Reef. (AUVSI)

The town of Hamilton, Ohio has acquired a drone to speed up the power restoration process during outages. (Journal-News)

Meanwhile, the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency has acquired a drone for a range of operations. (Firefighter Nation)

The Colorado Department of Transportation has granted a number of drone operators a five-year permission to operate drones for the agency. (BizWest)

The South Korean Air Force will create a new intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance unit built around its new fleet of RQ-4 Global Hawks, the first of which are to be delivered in December. (Yonhap News Agency)

Verizon has been given permission to grant drone operators who use its Skyward operations management platform instant approval on requests to fly in controlled airspace. (Construction Dive)

Alphabet has launched a burrito drone delivery test program in rural Australia.  (New Atlas)

The U.S. Public Safety Aviation Accreditation Commission and the Airborne Law Enforcement Association have released a set of standards for the use of small unmanned aircraft for public safety operations. (Press Release)

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon charged a man with criminal mischief after he allegedly shot down a drone with a rifle. (KVAL-TV)

Industry Intel

Boeing has acquired Near Earth Autonomy, a Pittsburgh-based startup that specializes in developing technologies that enable autonomous flight operations. The deal is Boeing’s second drone-related acquisition this month. (Reuters)

The Australian Army awarded FLIR Systems a $6.8 million contract for an undisclosed number of PD-100 Black Hornet 2 micro drones. (Jane’s)

Meanwhile, the Australian government awarded Explosive Protective Equipment a $189,173 Defense Innovation Hub grant to integrate a radar system into an unmanned ground vehicle. (ZDNet)

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $239,444 contract for engineering support for the RQ-21A Blackjack. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded RE2 Robotics $125,000 in funding to design an autonomous cargo moving system. (Tribune-Review)

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Drone Aviation Holding Corp. a $800,000 contract for the Winch Aerostat Small Platform. (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Israel Aerospace Industries has partnered with Hankuk Carbon in a joint venture focused on the development of vertical take-off and landing drones. (Jane’s)

The French Direction Générale pour l’Armement Lab will support the acquisition of small drones for French special operations following a months-long pilot program known as  “drone indoors.” (Jane’s)

The British Army is seeking a replacement for its Lockheed Martin Desert Hawk Mk3 reconnaissance drone. (Jane’s)

NASA awarded UltiSat a contract for Ku-band satellite capacity for its Global Hawk research drone. (Satellite Today)

SSR Mining awarded Global UAV Technologies a contract to survey the Seabee Gold Operation mining project. (Press Release)

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