Weekly Roundup 11/28/16

India's Rustom 2 medium-altitude long-endurance drone during a test flight in early November. Image via: The Financial Express
India’s Rustom II medium-altitude long-endurance drone during a test flight in early November. Credit: DRDO

November 21, 2016 – November 27, 2016

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A U.S. drone strike in Syria killed Abu Afghan al-Masri, a senior leader of al-Qaeda. Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook confirmed that the strike took place near the town of Sarmada, in Aleppo province, on November 18. (Voice of America)

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating an accident involving Facebook’s Aquila prototype drone during a test flight in June. According to an NTSB spokesperson, the drone experienced “structural failure” during the test flight. The Aquila is a high-altitude long-endurance drone that Facebook plans to use to beam Internet to remote areas. (Wall Street Journal)

The U.K. Civil Aviation Authority has revised the wording of its flight rules for drones. The move is part of the CAA’s push to increase awareness around responsible drone use. There have been several reported close encounters between drones and manned aircraft in U.K. airspace in recent months. (BBC)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At the Washington Post, Christian Davenport looks at the Pentagon’s efforts to develop unmanned undersea vehicles. For more on underwater drones, click here.

At Reuters, Ulf Laessing writes that ISIL is using drones to scout Iraqi Army locations and launch attacks in Mosul.

At Just Security, Philip Bobbitt reviews The Drone Memos: Targeted Killing, Secrecy, and the Law by Jameel Jaffer.

At Recode, April Glaser looks at how recent drone manufacturers DJI and GoPro did not have their new drones ready for sale in time for Black Friday.

At the New York Times, Adam Goldman and Eric Schmitt examine the U.S. strategy of targeting ISIL social media experts and recruiters with drones.

Also at the New York Times, Heidi Hutner offers a progress report on drone delivery tests in Madagascar.

At LobeLog, Eli Clifton looks at the connections between retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and a drone company that has received border security contracts.

At Offiziere, Darien Cavanaugh examines DARPA’s push to develop a system to counter small, cheap consumer drones.  

In a speech to the Airport Operators Association, Chris Grayling, the U.K. transport secretary, said that he had “less enthusiasm for a completely liberal market” for drones. (Daily Mail)

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers concludes that the agricultural drone industry could be worth $32.4 billion. (The Motley Fool)

American photographer Johnny Miller used a drone to capture aerial images of inequality in Nairobi, Kenya. (Quartz)

Meanwhile, photographer Michael B. Rasmussen has been using a drone to take aerial images of the Danish countryside in fall. (Wired)

Know Your Drone

Aerospace firm Boeing has been awarded a patent for an automatic recharging station for small military drones. (Popular Science)

The FAA and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems are testing counter-drone systems technology at the Nevada UAS test site. (Press Release)

Australia’s Defence Science and Technology program is developing autonomous unmanned air and ground vehicles as part of its Future Soldier initiative. (Herald Sun)  

A team at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is testing a high-altitude unmanned glider as part of a program to develop technologies to track vehicles returning from space. (Your Alaska Link)  

Telecommunications firm Nokia and the U.A.E. General Civil Aviation Authority are partnering to develop a drone air traffic management system (Press Release)  

Robotics firm Roboteam has unveiled an updated version of its Probot unmanned ground vehicle. (IHS Jane’s 360)

U.K. insurance firm Direct Line has proposed a system of drone streetlights that can follow pedestrians and light their path. (The Verge) 

South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development is developing an electromagnetic pulse generator to use against North Korean Drones. (Yonhap)

Indian officials have announced that the military’s developmental Rustom-2 drone, which has been renamed Tapas-BH 201, won’t have strike capabilities. (Times of India)

Singapore-based industrial company H3 Dynamics has unveiled the HYWINGS, a long-endurance commercial drone. (Deccan Chronicle)

Defense firms Schiebel and Israel Aerospace Industries are testing a new sensor payload that listens to communications from adversary targets. (FlightGlobal)

The U.S. Navy is planning to solicit proposals for the development of its Extra Large Unmanned Undersea Vehicle. (FBO)

A group of Ukrainian engineers has developed a multi-role long-endurance quadcopter drone. (Ukraine Today)

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. conducted a demonstration flight of its developmental drone delivery system. (Enterprise Innovation)

Drones at Work

Email chains released by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority show that Amazon began testing delivery drones at a secret site at least a year earlier than previously thought. The chain refers to tests conducted as early as the summer of 2015, but it was only publicly revealed that the program had begun in summer 2016. (Business Insider)

The Swiss Society for Rescue Dogs is teaming up with the Swiss Federation of Civil Drones to use unmanned aircraft during search operations. (The Local)

Mapping drones are being used in New Zealand to assist in the planning for a major highway project. (Stuff)

The Fallon Police Department in Nevada used a drone in a mock search exercise. (Nevada Appeal)

The UNHCR is exploring the use of drones to map refugee populations in Africa. (Relief Web)  

The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department in California has initiated a drone program. (Fresno Bee)

Officials in Lewes, Delaware have decided against an ordinance that would regulate drones in the city. (Cape Gazette)

A drone was used to deliver mobile phones and other items to an inmate at Nyborg Prison in Denmark. (Reuters)

Finland’s Defence Forces have spotted various drones flying over military facilities and exercises. (YLE)

A drone was used in Co Clare, Ireland to help search for a missing woman. (Irish Examiner)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems is dedicating a company-owned Avenger jet-powered military drone for humanitarian relief operations. (Aviation Week)  

An Indiana conservation officer has been granted permission to operate a drone for search and rescue missions. (Kokomo Tribune)  

Drone maker Autel robotics published a video showing how a drone can be used to help prepare a Thanksgiving meal. (Gizmodo)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $39.8 million contract modification to extend the range on the MQ-9 Reaper. (Contract Announcement)

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions announced that it had been awarded a $17.8 million contract for BQM-167i target drones from an unidentified international customer. (Shephard Media)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $10.4 million contract to increase production of the MQ-8C Fire Scout. (FBO)

The Department of the Interior awarded 3D Robotics a $5,081 contract for unmanned aircraft systems. (Contract Announcement)

The European Maritime Safety Agency awarded Martek Marine a $10.6 million contract for drones that will monitor marine pollution levels. (BBC)

GoPro is offering free Hero 5 sport cameras and full refunds to customers who bought the Karma drone before the recall. (Investopedia)

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