Weekly Roundup 11/4/19

October 28, 2019 – November 3, 2019

Top Stories

Îlham Ehmed, the co-president of the Syrian Democratic Council, said that Turkish drone strikes causing significant Kurdish civilian casualties have continued in spite of a ceasefire in northern Syria. In a statement to reporters during a visit to Washington, Ehmed called on the U.S. to block Turkey from carrying out these and other military operations. (The Guardian)

The U.S. Department of the Interior will cease all drone operations while it conducts a review of potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities. According to The Wall Street Journal, all of the department’s 800 drones are either made in China or have Chinese-made components, and U.S. officials are concerned that the Chinese government may have access to the data collected by the aircraft. The agency uses drones to monitor endangered species, conduct aerial surveys, inspect infrastructure, and fight forest fires. Center co-director Dan Gettinger provided commentary for this story.

Know Your Drone

Ride sharing firm Uber unveiled a prototype for its Uber Eats delivery drone, which the company says will be capable of carrying up to one meal for two people on each flight. (TechCrunch)

Chinese drone maker DJI unveiled the Mavic Mini, a small aerial imaging quadcopter drone. (TechCrunch)

U.S. firm FlightWave Aerospace Systems unveiled the Jupiter, a multirole tricopter drone. (Press Release)

South Korean firm Hanwha Defense unveiled the ASWUUV, an unmanned undersea vehicle for anti-submarine warfare. (Jane’s)

A study by researchers at Maimonides Medical Center found that drones could arrive at the scene of a medical emergency faster than ambulances on the ground. (IEEE Spectrum)

U.S. defense firm Northrop Grumman conducted a test of its Rapid Integration Swarm Ecosystem—an architecture for operating large agglomerations of unmanned vehicles—at a field experiment for DARPA’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program. (Press Release)

U.S. startup A2Z Drone Delivery unveiled a tether system for conveying packages from delivery drones to the ground. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Drones at Work

The U.S. military will continue to fly drones over northern Syria following its troop withdrawal from the area. (Breaking Defense)

The U.S. Air Force has begun drone operations from Air Base 201, a large recently completed facility in central Niger. (Air Force Times)

The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, an unmanned platform for testing classified technologies in orbit, completed a 780 day mission in space. (Jane’s)

Firefighters battling the Maria Fire in California suspended air operations for 45 minutes after a drone was spotted operating in the vicinity of one of the helicopters. (Los Angeles Times)

The Houthi group in Yemen claims that it shot down a U.S.-made ScanEagle surveillance and reconnaissance drone near the border with Saudi Arabia. (Military Times)

The Israel Defense Forces said that it intercepted a drone operating over the Gaza Strip. (Associated Press)

Meanwhile, the Israeli military said that one of its own drones came under anti-aircraft fire while operating in Lebanese airspace. (Associated Press)

The Vermont State Police has acquired 11 drones for a range of operations. (WAMC)  For more on drones in public safety, click here.

In a test, the U.S. Navy and a team from the University of Hawaii used a drone to deliver parts, medical supplies, and food to the USS Hawaii, a Virginia-class submarine operating more than a mile offshore. (Military.com)

The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center has begun testing a senseFly eBee X fixed-wing drone for surveying operations. (Press Release)

Emergency responders in Somersworth, New Hampshire used a drone to find a man who had become lost on a walking trail. (Edge Radio)

The U.S. military has deployed with the SkyTracker counter-drone system. (DefenseNews)

The U.S. Air Force released the criteria for its new Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal, which recognizes non-deployed drone pilots for actions that have a “direct and immediate impact” on battlefield operations. (Press Release)

The U.S. Army has completed construction of a $40 million hangar for MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones at Fort Wainwright in Alaska. (WJCT)

The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority has reduced its registration fee for drone users, which is set to become mandatory at the end of the month, from £16 to £9. (Drone Life)

Industry Intel

Kongsberg Geospatial and AiRXOS, a division of GE Aviation, have partnered on an unmanned traffic management platform. (UAS Magazine)

U.K. firm Blighter has secured a seven-figure loan from BOOST&Co for additional work on its air security and counter-drone radars. (Business Weekly)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At The New York Times, Vanessa Swales looks at how law enforcement agencies are having a difficult time combating drones used by criminals. Center co-director Arthur Holland Michel provided comment for this story.

The U.S. Defense Innovation Board has unveiled a proposal for ethical principles to govern the U.S. military’s use of artificial intelligence. (Wired)

In Defense & Security Analysis, Anna Jackman examines trends in consumer drones and the risks they pose.

At DefenseNews, Valerie Insinna writes that some U.S. defense analysts see an opportunity to use drones to boost the U.S. Air Force’s inventory.

A study by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University found that aircraft pilots are frequently unable to see nearby drones while on approach for landing. (Press Release)

At Bloomberg, Gwen Ackerman, Selcan Hacaoglu, and Mohammed Hatem write that drones are playing an increasingly prominent role in several conflicts around the world.

At TomDispatch, Allegra Harpootlian writes about the personal toll of covering the civilian casualties of U.S. drone strikes.

At the National League of Cities, Brittney Kohler and Brenna Rivett look at how local governments can begin preparing for drone deliveries.

At USNI News, Megan Eckstein looks at how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps are moving ahead with plans for unmanned maritime vehicles.

Baltimore is hosting Brilliant Baltimore, a 10-day event that includes a drone light show. (Press Release)

At CNET, Stephen Shankland describes NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine’s vision for a future airspace filled with drones.

At AOPA, Jim Moore rounds up drone pilot testimonies about mistakes that could have resulted in accidents.