Weekly Roundup 12/11/17

A new drone created by Bell Helicopter could deliver packages to your doorstep or resupply soldiers in the field. Credit: Bell Helicopter

December 4, 2017 – December 10, 2017

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An Indian IAI Heron drone crashed on India’s border with China. According to an Indian military official who spoke with the Hindustan Times, the drone was conducting a training mission when it experienced a technical malfunction. In a statement, a spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry said that the accident was an “invasion” of China’s territorial sovereignty. The crash comes amidst an ongoing territorial dispute between the two countries.

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At The Daily Beast, David Axe looks at how China is betting on lasers to counter wayward drones.

Reuters reports that the International Air Transport Association is encouraging law enforcement globally to take a stronger position against rogue drone activity.

At Foreign Affairs, Elsa B. Kania writes that China is investing heavily in smart weapons, artificial intelligence, and drones.

At the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nicole Raz looks at why Nevada is competing for one of five spots in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program.

At UAS Magazine, Patrick C. Miller writes that Intel Corp. is exploring ways of participating in the FAA’s UAS Integration Pilot Program.

At Wired, Matt Simon considers how growth in online buying is fueling Amazon’s investment in robots.

NPR looks at an effort to save the endangered black-footed ferrets in Montana by using drones to vaccinate prairie dogs, the ferrets’ primary food source.

CBS News profiles a former U.S. military intelligence officer who is training Somali police to use drones to help counter al-Shabab.

CBS Los Angeles looks at how the California Air National Guard’s MQ-9 Reaper drones are providing aerial intelligence to firefighters in Southern California.

At the Crestview News Bulletin, Brian Hughes writes that a drone is helping the Crestview police work more efficiently.

At the New York Times, Charlie Savage and Eric Schmitt report that the U.S. military expects at least two more years of combat—including drone strikes—in Somalia.

At Just Security, Rita Siemion writes that the Trump administration should continue to publish an Obama-era report on global U.S. counterterrorism operations.

In the CSIS Defense360 Bad Ideas in National Security series, Alice Hunt Friend argues that deploying armed U.S. drones to Niger would “likely destabilize regional politics.”

Also at CSIS Denfense360, Andrew Metrick argues that military planners will need to be creative in order to develop drones that can operate in contested environments.

The British Journal of Photography explores how drone photographers can improve their craft.

Know Your Drone

In a U.S. Air Force-funded study, a team at Oxford University examined the way peregrine falcons track their targets for lessons on how to intercept rogue drones. (Bloomberg)  

The U.S. Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office released a broad agency announcement calling for loitering munitions and tethered surveillance drones. (Defense One) For more on loitering munitions, click here.

German drone technology firm Skysense unveiled a range of charging stations for multirotor drones. (UAS Magazine)

U.S. firms Northrop Grumman and VX Aerospace are developing a canister-launched drone that could be mounted on the Navy’s E/A-18G Growler jet. (FlightGlobal)

U.S. drone maker Precision Robotics unveiled the Scout, an autonomous drone and charging station system for precision agriculture. (PrecisionAg)

Bell Helicopters unveiled an autonomous vertical take-off and landing cargo drone called Automatic Pod Transport. (Star-Telegram)

Drones at Work

The Brunswick Police Department in Maine is planning to use drones to spot railroad trespassers. (Portland Press Herald)

The South Korean military is planning to stand up a unit of weaponized swarming drones to counter North Korean forces. (Brisbane Times)

The Los Angeles Fire Department used drones to assist in the firefighting efforts against the Skirball Fire. (Wired)

Meanwhile, Boeing Insitu deployed drones to support firefighting efforts during the Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon. (Press Release)

A Japanese company has announced plans to use music-playing drones to force overworking employees to leave their offices. (BBC)

The Wyckoff Fire Department in New Jersey acquired a drone donated by three high school students. (NorthJersey.com)

The The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Montana are using drones to track moose calves in northeast Washington. (Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle)

Industry Intel

A New Jersey man was fined $1.5 million and sentenced to five years in prison for setting up a fake drone company. (Patch.com)

The U.S. Air Force awarded the University of Dayton Research Institute a $15 million contract for work on small, air-launched drones. (Press Release)  

The United Nations awarded Pentagon Performance, a New Jersey based manufacturer of medium-sized drones, a $50 million contract to provide surveillance drones for the U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Press Release)

Persistent Systems will provide Endeavor Robotics with MANET radios for the MTRS II unmanned ground vehicle. (Jane’s)

Kespry, a California-based provider of end-to-end drone information and intelligence, raised $33 million in a Series C funding round led by G2VP. (Unmanned Aerial)

The European Defense Agency awarded Aertec Solutions, a Spain-based company, a contract to develop a laser that can be attached to a drone. (Jane’s)

AeroVironment stocks rose 26 percent after the company announced that second-quarter revenue was up 47 percent over the same period last year. (Los Angeles Times)

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