Weekly Roundup 12/25/17

Boeing previewed its proposal for the MQ-25 Stingray tanker drone. Credit: Eric Shindelbower/Boeing

December 18, 2017 – December 24, 2017

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The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has banned drones from flying over seven Department of Energy nuclear facilities. The FAA already bans drones from flying over U.S. military installations and several popular landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty. (Reuters)

An advisory panel submitted recommendations to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on drone identification and tracking sytems and policies, which the FAA has said will be necessary to integrate drones into urban or congested airspaces. The report did, however, reveal disagreements within the panel over what types of drones should be required to fly with identification systems installed. (Bloomberg)  

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a suit against the Department of Defense in an effort to require the Trump administration to release its rules for targeted killings. Earlier in the year, the Trump administration loosened some of the rules for drone strikes and counterterrorism operations in areas outside of conventional battlefields. (Newsweek)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Foreign Affairs, Jacquelyn Schneider and Julia Macdonald consider why U.S. infantry still trust and prefer manned aircraft over drones.

At The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Jessica Purkiss, Jack Serle, and Abigail Fielding-Smith write that drone strikes in Yemen and Somalia doubled in 2017.

At IEEE Spectrum, Paul Scharre argues that the “Slaughterbots” video, which drew attention to the dangers of lethal autonomous robots, is mostly science fiction.

At Wired, Matt Simon considers how an incident in San Francisco revealed the tensions inherent in deploying security robots that interact with human members of the public.

Also at Wired, Matt Simon writes that technological progress enabled robots of all kinds to make big advances this year.

At Defense News, Valerie Insinna and Aaron Mehta write that the Trump administration may propose a change to an international agreement that would allow it to approve more exports of military drones.

Reuters reports that the European Union’s plans to move forward with regulations for drones are on hold following concerns raised by member states.

At Commercial Drones FM, Michael Perry discusses the data security of DJI drones.

At Dice Insights, William Terdoslavich looks at why drone firms are eager to hire coders who are able to do full-stack development.

A Pew Research Center survey found that 8 percent of Americans own a drone and over half of all Americans have seen one in action.  

At Voice of America, Lin Yang considers why North Dakota is leading U.S. states in terms of drone research and testing. 

At Aviation Week, Graham Warwick writes that improvements in propulsion and aerodynamics have led to longer flight times for drones.

The U.S. Army Research Laboratory published a short documentary detailing their effort to create 3-D printed drones. (YouTube)

Photographer Humza Deas published a series of aerial drone images of Manhattan. (My Modern Met)

Know Your Drone

U.S. aerospace firm Boeing published a sneak peak of its design for the Navy’s MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone competition. (Press Release)

A team of researchers at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces are developing a long-endurance drone modeled on the wandering albatross. (NBC News)

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation in India is planning to use drones to find mosquito breeding grounds as part of an initiative to fight an ongoing dengue outbreak in the city. (The Hindu)

First person view headset maker Fat Shark unveiled the Fat Shark 101, the company’s first racing drone. (The Verge)

NASA is planning to use its X-56A subscale demonstrator drone to test technologies for highly flexible aircraft wings. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

A team at Tohoku University in Japan is developing a search and rescue drone that can listen for sounds like voices and cell phone ringtones in a disaster. (Phys.org)

Solar technology firm SolAero Technologies announced that it is partnering with a team from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to build a solar wing for the AeroVironment Puma drone. (Press Release)

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has commissioned a study to explore a range of technologies for naval unmanned helicopter surveillance operations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Startup Eyedea has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a small multirotor drone that doubles as an action cam and a security camera. (Digital Trends)

Drones at Work

The Dutch police unit that trained eagles to intercept rogue drones has announced that it is closing down the initiative. (Engadget)

Two Marine Corps drone operators were awarded the service’s first medal for remote operations. (USNI News)

A researcher from the University of Antwerp and the Research Institute for Nature and Forest is using drones to estimate crop damage caused by wild boars. (British Ecological Society)

Redding Police Department in California received a $25,000 donation from a local church to establish a drone program. (Action News Now)

During a joint exercise between the British Royal Navy and the Israeli Navy, an Elbit Systems Seagull unmanned surface vessel conducted a mine-countermeasures mission. (Press Release)

The U.S. Marine Corps conducted the last ever flight of its RQ-7B Shadow surveillance and reconnaissance drone. (Press Release)

The town of Northbrook, Illinois is buying a pair of drones for its police and fire departments. (Northbrook Patch)

Starting in 2018, Iraq will use drones in order to protect its oil pipelines. (The New York Times)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $22.7 million contract modification for field support and training for the ScanEagle. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $33.5 million contract modification for the production and delivery of three MQ-8C Fire Scout systems and a $19.1 million contract modification for systems software and engineering support. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Longbow an $18.1 million contract modification for the UAS tactical common data link assembly. (DoD)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded G2 Digital Solutions a $48,600 contract for two DJI Matrice 200 drones and accessories. (FBO)

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions announced that it has been awarded a $27 million contract from a U.S. Government Agency for drone-related products and services. (Press Release)

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Group announced that the U.S. Office of Naval Research has awarded it a contract to build the motor for the Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle. (Press Release)

Airbus Defense and Space will collaborate with Williams Advanced Engineering on the Airbus Zephyr high-altitude drone system. (Shephard Media)

The Bangladesh Air Force is soliciting proposals for a medium-altitude long-endurance, strike-capable drone. (Quwa)

In response to a question from Parliament, India’s Ministry of Defense said that it is awaiting U.S. approval of its request to purchase 22 General Atomics Guardian surveillance drones. (Jane’s)

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission issued Lumenier Holdco LLC a $180,000 fine for selling audio/visual transmitters for model aircraft that exceeded power limitations. (Hackaday.com)

A Teal Group forecast estimates that global drone production will increase from $4.2 billion in 2017 to $10.3 billion in 2026. (National Defense Magazine)

Elroy Air, a San Francisco-based drone delivery startup, raised $4.6 million in a seed funding round led by Levitate Capital, Homebrew, Shasta Ventures, and Lemnos. (Quartz)

The Flying Object invested in Vigilant Aerospace, a flight management company that offers a detect-and-avoid system for drone pilots. (Shephard Media)  

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