Weekly Roundup 11/20/17

Boston Dynamics released a video of its Atlas humanoid robot doing a backflip. Credit: Boston Dynamics

November 13, 2017 – November 19, 2017

If you would like to receive the Weekly Roundup in your inbox, please subscribe at the bottom of the page.

At the Center for the Study of the Drone

Last week, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration released a database of over 940,000 drones and drone hobbyist registered with the government. In a new report, we analyze the dataset to establish exactly where the drones and operators are, where the industry is growing and where it isn’t, and what types of drones everyone is buying.


A U.S. drone strike in Somalia reportedly killed several members of al-Shabab. In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said that the strike targeted militants 60 miles northwest of Mogadishu. (Associated Press)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

A report by SIPRI offers an assessment of autonomy in weapons systems from around the world and discusses the implications of lethal autonomous weapons.

A security researcher is alleging that China-based drone maker DJI left sensitive user data exposed on an unprotected server for years.(The Register)

A white paper by counter-drone technology firm Department 13 examines potential weaknesses in DJI’s AeroScope drone identification technology.

At Aviation Week, James Drew considers the state of the U.S. Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray program now that Northrop Grumman has withdrawn from the initiative.

At USNI News, Megan Eckstein looks at how the U.S. Navy is seeking to improve the capabilities of unmanned underwater vehicles.

At FlightGlobal, Stephen Trimble writes that China’s export-oriented Cloud Shadow drone’s speed is not matched by its endurance.

At Just Security, Adriana Edmeades Jones looks at how the relationship between the U.S. and its allies might change in light of the Trump administration’s new drone strike policy.

Also at Just Security, Rita Siemion writes that the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act contains provisions requiring greater oversight of U.S. counterterrorism operations.

At the Verge, Lauren Goode considers possible applications for DJI’s Aeroscope drone detection system.

In a news report segment, CBS New York follows the New York Police Department’s Aviation Unit as it takes new measures to crack down on illegal or dangerous drone activities.

At News Tribune, Tom Collins looks at how fire departments in Illinois are using drones to survey commercial buildings and plan for future fire emergencies.

At the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Elsa B. Kania considers the role of human control in AI weapons when events on the battlefield are happening at lightening speeds.

Know Your Drone

Chinese military drone maker Beihang Unmanned Aircraft System Technology unveiled the TYW-1, a large surveillance and strike drone. (Jane’s)

In a video posted to YouTube, robot maker Boston Dynamics demonstrated its Atlas humanoid robot performing a backflip. (NPR)

Israeli firm Elbit Systems unveiled the Hermes 45, a tactical surveillance drone with an endurance of more than 24 hours. (Jane’s)

Under a joint program, the U.K. Ministry of Defence and the U.S. Army conducted a trial to study the use of unmanned ground vehicles in resupply missions. (Irish Examiner)

A study by a team at the University of Tennessee found that the use of drones equipped with multispectral sensors and digital cameras could significantly improve the accuracy and efficiency of plant stand assessment in cotton farming. (Science Daily)

The U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory has initiated a 12-month program to test 10 Yates Electrospace Corporation Silent Arrow cargo drones. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Drones at Work

A drone carrying cellphones and drugs crashed at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis. (azcentral.com)

The U.K. Royal Navy is set to begin using Outrider submarine-launched surveillance drones to search for adversary submarines. (Express)

In Bordeaux, France, police are using drones to help enforce traffic laws. (Marketplace)

The Kuwait Air Force is reportedly considering acquiring drones for border surveillance and other operations. (Jane’s)

The FAA has granted telecom firm AT&T permission to use the Flying COW wireless service drone as part of the relief effort in Puerto Rico. (NPR)

A group of volunteer rescue workers used a drone to assist in the search for two women in British Columbia. (Surrey Now-Leader)

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has installed a DroneWatcher DSR counter-drone system to detect rogue drones that may interfere with air traffic. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

The Springfield Fire Department in Missouri has acquired a multirotor drone donated by a local mining company. (KY3)

The city of Yorba Linda in California has adopted an ordinance restricting the use of drones near events and over private property. (The Orange County Register)

The U.S. Navy dispatched the newly-established Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Squadron 1 to support efforts to find the Argentine submarine A.R.A. San Juan. (DVIDS)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $11.3 million contract modification for work on the QF-16 full-scale aerial target done. (DoD)

Leonardo delivered the first Falco Evo surveillance drone to an unnamed customer in the Middle East. (Shephard Media)

Boeing Insitu announced that it has received a contract from QGC, an Australian energy company, to provide drone inspection and management services. (Aviation Pros)

Drone services firm Sky-Futures has launched what it describes as the industry’s first full-package drone solution product. (Press Release)

Shares of the Israeli drone manufacturer Aeronautics have fallen 30 percent in the wake an investigation by Israeli authorities. (Reuters)  

The Indian Army issued a request-for-information for 60 new surveillance drones. (The Tribune)

The Royal Canadian Air Force’s program to procure a surveillance and reconnaissance drone has entered the options analysis phase. (Press Release)

Saudi Arabia is reportedly engaged in negotiations to purchase six Turkish Aerospace Industry Anka strike-capable medium-altitude long-endurance drones. (Defense News)

Drone maker Delair has partnered with John Deere to provide precision agriculture services and platforms. (sUAS News)  

Deveron UAS, a drone services company, has partnered with Monsanto to provide drone data services for farmers. (Financial Post)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter.

[includeme file=”tools/sympa/drones_sub.php”]