Weekly Roundup 10/31/16

China debuted its "Cloud Shadow" UAV at the Zhuhair Airshow last week. Via: BestChinaNews
China debuted its “Cloud Shadow” surveillance and strike UAV at the Zhuhair Airshow last week. Via: Best China News

October 24, 2016 – October 30, 2016

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At the Center for the Study of the Drone

Last year, we posted one of our regular “Need to Know” cheat sheets about the growing field of underwater drones. So much has changed in the field in just the past twelve months that we saw it fit to fully update this resource on the strange world of drones that swim. Here’s what you need to know.


The U.S. launched drone strikes in Afghanistan targeting a senior al-Qaeda commander, Nayef Salam Muhammad Ujaym al-Hababi, and his deputy. al-Hababi is a leader of the group in eastern Afghanistan. It is unclear whether the two individuals were killed in the strikes. (NBC News)

The Washington Post reports that the United States is flying drones over Libya from a new base in neighboring Tunisia. The drones are being used to collect intelligence on targets for U.S. strikes, primarily over the Islamic State stronghold of Sirte. The Tunisia-based drone operations began in June, according to unnamed U.S. officials who spoke with the Post.

The Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden ruled that camera-equipped drones constitute restricted surveillance equipment, dealing a blow to recreational and commercial drone users in the country. The ruling requires drone users to obtain a permit for surveillance cameras and pay a substantial fee. (PetaPixel)

Foreign Policy reports that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has suspended drone surveillance operations in eastern Ukraine. OSCE had used Schiebel Camcopter drones to monitor ceasefire violations in the region, but the program was called off in August after several aircraft were downed with missiles and jamming systems.

Police in North Dakota shot down a DJI Phantom hobby drone that was flying over the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident. (Drone360)

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a close encounter between a drone and a commercial aircraft near Colorado Springs airport. A pilot of an MD-80 jet reported seeing a drone flying at an altitude of 8,000 feet. (KRDO)

The U.S. Navy squadron that will fly the MQ-4C Triton surveillance drone was formally created at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, Florida. The squadron, known as VUP-19, is expected to begin taking delivery of the first operational Tritons in August 2017. (Seapower Magazine)

The U.S. Air Force announced that it had brought down a drone belonging to the Islamic State group using electronic warfare weapons. (Air Force Magazine)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Reuters, Beth Pinsker writes that sales data shows that drone sales this year are outpacing last year’s figures, and that Toys R Us is the primary retailer.

In response to a FOIA request, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency released documents relating to projects that sought to develop insect-inspired drones. (secrecy {fragments} blog)

At the New York Times, Matthew Rosenberg and John Markoff examine the U.S. military’s development of artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons.

At the Wall Street Journal, Patience Haggin writes that more and more drone startups are turning to offering one-stop shop drone services for businesses instead of a particular technology or service.

At Just Security, Chris Ford examines the Defense Science Board’s reports on autonomy in weapon systems.

Also at Just Security, Shaheed Fatima argues that the U.K. has not fully explained the rationale for using drones to carry out targeted killings.

At Breaking Defense, Richard Whittle writes that the U.S. Marine Corps is seeking to set aside funds in Fiscal Year 2018 to develop a vertical takeoff and landing drone the size of the MQ-9 Reaper.

Meanwhile, at USNI News, Megan Eckstein looks at three major efforts by the Marine Corps to advance the development of air and ground drones.

The U.S. Navy is drafting a strategy for acquiring and integrating unmanned systems. (USNI)

Meanwhile, Shad Reese, an official at the U.S. Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, told an audience at Unmanned Systems Defense that the DoD plans to publish a new unmanned systems roadmap document in early 2017. (IHS Jane’s 360)  

At Seapower Magazine, Richard R. Burgess writes that the U.S. Navy is planning to deploy glider underwater drones on its Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers.

At War on the Rocks, Richard Kuzma explains the threat posed by flying IEDs to the U.S. Navy.

At the National Interest, Dave Majumdar looks at how the Navy is investing in underwater drones as a means to meeting the demands of undersea warfare.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies held a day-long event on the Third-Offset Strategy.

In a podcast at the Modern War Institute, Col. Michael Loos discusses the rise of asymmetric threats like commercial drones.

At Bloomberg, Anthony Capaccio looks at the role that commercial drones are playing in the battle to retake Mosul.

Stratfor predicts that the global demand for armed military drones is only beginning and will be difficult to stop. (MarketWatch)

At IHS Jane’s 360, Jeremy Binnie takes a look at a forward operating base in Libya where the United Arab Emirates has deployed several Chinese-made Wing Loong drones.

At CNET, Erin Carson explores how hobbyists are propelling the popularity of drone racing.

At Forbes, Brian Wynne and Tim Day argue that the high level of cooperation between industry and regulators is the reason why commercial drones are able to operate today.

At the Daily Herald, Marie Wilson describes how city officials and businesses in Naperville, Illinois have shifted from fearing drones to embracing the technology.

At the Royal Aeronautical Society, Tim Robinson explores some of the emerging lessons from the U.K. Unmanned Warrior exercise.

In a lecture at Unmanned Defense 2016, Col. Brandon Baker explained how the U.S. Air Force is preparing to field swarms of drones. (FlightGlobal)

In a letter to Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James, California Rep. Duncan Hunter urged the Air Force to speed up the acquisition of counter-drone technologies. (The Hill)

At Popular Science, Jeffrey Lin and P.W. Singer and take a closer look at China’s unmanned ground vehicle competition.

At Gizmodo, Christina Warren writes that DJI may actually be further behind on shipments of the new Mavic Pro drone than it says it is.

Know Your Drone

Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a system to recharge drones in mid-flight. (Press Release)

Chinese drone maker DJI unveiled a new camera with a 30x optical zoom. (CNET)

The U.S. Marine Corps approved an initial capabilities document for its planned large vertical take-off and landing drone. (USNI News)

A Russian engineering center has developed a prototype fixed-wing surveillance drone. (Pravda)

A researcher from Trend Micro demonstrated a system for remotely hijacking rogue drones in mid-flight. (Ars Technica)

The Iranian Navy unveiled a loitering munition drone with a range of up to 600 miles. (USA Today)

Juliet Marine Systems is developing a twin-hull unmanned surface vehicle. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid are developing a system that would enable drones to detect forest fires. (UPM Blog)

The U.S. Army plans to accelerate the acquisition of the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport, a ground resupply robot. (National Defense Magazine)

The DARPA Anti-Submarine Warfare Continuous Trail Unmanned Vessel (ACTUV) conducted a test with a prototype sensor mast payload. (Shephard Media)

Boeing is preparing to test increased levels of autonomy in its unmanned systems. (FlightGlobal)

China will reportedly unveil a new stealth drone prototype at the 2016 Zhuhai Airshow. (Defence Blog)

The U.S. Army issued a request for information for power systems for the future tactical unmanned aircraft system, a planned successor to the RQ-7 Shadow. (FBO.gov)

DARPA is soliciting proposals for the Mobile Force Protection program, a proposed system intended to defeat raids by autonomous drones against high-value assets. (FBO.gov)

The U.S. Army National Guard issued a request for information for three unmanned ground vehicles to serve as targets in a Singaporean test exercise. (FBO.gov)

Researchers at the Institute for Dynamics Systems and Control at ETH Zurich developed a mini drone with a single propeller. (BBC)

Drones at Work

The Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Environment has grown to include 50 trained pilots and 25 drones. (Regina Leader-Post)

Officials in Lewes, Delaware are considering possible drone rules for the town. (Cape Gazette)

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles was granted permission to start a program to use drones to manage traffic accidents. (Fox 35)

An aid group used drones to document the damage from Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. (AFP)

Missouri State University has banned the use of drones over its campuses. (Springfield News-Leader)

The Chicopee City Council in Massachusetts is considering a bill prohibiting drone surveillance and weaponized drones. (Masslive)

A drone enthusiast demonstrated how to use a drone to change a lightbulb. (Gizmodo)

Director Ron Howard discusses the use of drones to shoot the forthcoming film Inferno. (CNET)

Israel announced that its Heron 1 medium-altitude long-endurance drones will begin patrols of its maritime boundary. (Israel Foreign Affairs)

First responders in Australia are using drones to check for remaining oil spills around Fraser Island. (Brisbane Island)

Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will begin to use drones to investigate accidents. (Press Release)

Police in Greensboro, North Carolina used a robot to help arrest a suspect after a nine-hour standoff. (WRAL)  

A Taiwanese military drone has gone missing in the mountainous Chiayi County during an Army exercise. (Focus Taiwan)

The White House has allocated $2 million in grants to train ex-coal workers in Virginia to fly drones. (Recode)

Otto, an Uber subsidiary, partnered with Anheuser-Busch to make a delivery of beer using a self-driving truck. (Recode)

Industry Intel

Stocks for consumer robot maker iRobot rose 11 percent on the back of a better-than-expected Q3 earnings report. (The Motley Fool)

Drone maker Draganfly has partnered with Optical Filter Corporation to integrate a miniaturized hyperspectral camera system onto the Draganfly UAVs. (Unmanned Systems Technology)  

The U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. a $190.3 million contract for continued contractor logistic support for the Hunter unmanned aircraft systems. (Contract Announcement)

SAAB acquired Nordic Defence Industries, a Danish company that makes underwater mine countermeasures. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Textron is hoping that current customers of its Aerosonde drone will upgrade to the new, vertical take-off and landing variant. (FlightGlobal)

Aerodrome signed a 20-year-lease with the Boulder City Council in Nevada for land that will eventually host a commercial droneport, a facility to train private and public drone users. (Boulder City News)

The Air Force Research Lab will invest $5 million in a sense-and-avoid detection system for drones at Ohio’s Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. (WHIO)

Turkmenistan has reportedly acquired WJ-600 unmanned aircraft from China. (Defence Blog)

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