Weekly Roundup 2/25/19

U.S. startup DroneSeed and The Nature Conservancy Oregon have launched a program to use drone swarms to re-seed native plants around the Oregon Rangelands. Image via Vimeo

February 18, 2019 – February 24, 2019

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Top Stories

The New York Police Department is requesting that the federal government grant it the authority to bring down drones that pose a security threat. In a conference in Washington, D.C. on drones and public safety, representatives for the NYPD argued that recent legislation granting federal law enforcement agencies authority to disable rogue drones was insufficient for addressing a rising number of drone incidents in the city and concerns about terrorist drone use. (The Wall Street Journal)

The Canadian Ministry of Defence has launched a formal bid to acquire a Global Hawk drone owned by Germany. Canada is seeking to use the high-altitude long-endurance drone, which had previously served as a prototype for Germany’s now-cancelled Euro Hawk program, to monitor its Arctic territories. According to Reuters, NATO is also preparing a bid for the aircraft.

The U.K. Department for Transport announced that it will expand all no-drone zones around British airports from 1 kilometer to 5 kilometers from the the runway. The new rules will go into effect on March 13. (TechCrunch)

Know Your Drone

U.A.E-based firm International Golden Group and South African defense contractor Rippel Effect Systems unveiled the DLP3 and the DLP6, two drone-mounted grenade launchers with three and six barrels, respectively. (Jane’s)

Estonian firm Milrem Robotics and European missile maker MBDA unveiled a THeMIS unmanned ground vehicle equipped with two missiles and a machine gun. (estonian world)

U.S. startup Elroy Air announced that it plans to begin testing a full-scale prototype of a vertical take-off and landing cargo drone capable of carrying up to 500 lb. (Aviation Week)

French firm Nexter Robotics unveiled an updated variant of its FINDEAGLE vehicle-mounted tethered surveillance drone. (Jane’s)

Serbian firm EDePro unveiled the Mini Aleks, a hybrid drone capable of vertical take-off and landing and horizontal flight. (Jane’s)

Chinese drone maker DJI released the Matrice 200 V2, a commercial quadcopter drone, and Flighthub Enterprise, an operation management software program. (Drone DJ)

Russian defense company ZALA Aero Group unveiled the KUB-UAV, a loitering munition drone with a 7 lb. payload and 30 minutes of endurance. (The Washington Post)

Meanwhile, Israel Aerospace Industries unveiled the Mini Harpy, a small loitering munition with a range of up to 60 miles. (UPI)

Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has unveiled a prototype for a surveillance and reconnaissance helicopter drone. (Jane’s)

Meanwhile, Italian company Leonardo unveiled a new version of the Hero surveillance and reconnaissance helicopter drone. (Aviation Week)

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems demonstrated a system for launch and recovery of an MQ-9B Sky Guardian using only a satellite link and a laptop, eliminating the need for a ground control state at the deployed base. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation has revealed the JARI, 15-meter armed unmanned boat. (Global Times)

Saudi corporation Science Technology has revealed plans to develop a long-range, long-endurance strike drone. (Defence Blog)

Russia’s Ministry of Defense released footage of what it claims to be a live test of the Poseidon, an autonomous nuclear submarine. (Popular Mechanics)

Drones at Work

In a series of mapping and survey missions, Canadian firm In-flight Data set three new Guinness World Records: longest battery powered beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) flight, longest urban BVLOS flight, and longest single urban BVLOS flight. (Aviation International)

U.S. startup DroneSeed and The Nature Conservancy Oregon have launched a program to use drone swarms to re-seed native plants around the Oregon Rangelands. (Press Release)

Canada’s Royal Canadian Navy will equip its Kingston-class ships with PUMA fixed-wing surveillance and reconnaissance drones. (Press Release)Insitu Commercial Solutions-Australia has begun aerial data collection missions in Papua New Guinea after receiving the country’s first license for commercial drone operations. (Shephard Media)

Dublin airport in Ireland suspended flights for about 15 minutes after a pilot on a taxiway reported seeing a drone operating nearby. (Reuters)

E-commerce firms JD.com and Rakuten have launched a partnership to expand drone delivery services in Japan. (TechCrunch)

The Italian navy has begun operating the M-40 target drone for training exercise missions. (Aviation International)

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is working to define a range of penalties, including prison time, for drone operators who operate near wildfires or manned air traffic. (Inside Unmanned Systems)

A New York Air National Guard MQ-9 Reaper sensor operator was arrested for allegedly pretending to be a CIA counterterrorism agent in order to impress a woman he met at a local church. (Air Force Times)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Army awarded Mississippi State University a $7.2 million contract for work on advanced propulsion technologies for drones. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force awarded the University of Dayton Research Institute a $3.9 million contract for work on autonomy and artificial intelligence technologies. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded L-3 Communications West a $29.6 million contract for a communications system for MQ-8 Fire Scout unmanned helicopters. (Military & Aerospace)

NextGen Federal Systems announced that the U.S. Army has awarded it a contract to develop artificial intelligence and machine learning for drone swarms. (WVNews)

Pointivo, an Atlanta-based startup that develops artificial intelligence and computer vision for commercial drones, raised $7 million in a Series A round led by BIP Capital. (Atlanta Inno)

Sabrewing Aircraft Company, a California-based startup that develops vertical take-off and landing drones, raised approximately $2 million in a funding round led by the Drone Fund. (Press Release)

Leonardo opened a new facility in Pisa, Italy for the development and production of the AWHERO rotary-wing drone. (Press Release)

Norway has issued a tender for Project VTOL UAS, a program to test the feasibility of integrating a vertical take-off and landing surveillance drone onto a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel. (Shephard News)

Unifly announced that it has partnered with Terra Drone India to work on unmanned traffic management projects with the government of India. (Shephard News)

Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Avichai Stolero, an Israeli businessman, formalized the acquisition of Israeli drone firm Aeronautics. (Globes)

Al Seer Marine, a UAE-based company, and Saudi firm Advanced Electronics Company have partnered to develop unmanned surface vehicles. (Emirates 24/7)

Persistent Systems has partnered with Hoverfly Technologies, a manufacturer of tethered drones. (AUVSI)

NASA has selected the Lone Star UAS Center of Excellence & Innovation in Texas and the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems as test sites for its drone traffic management system. (Aviation Week)

Macquarie Group announced that it is investing an initial $1 million in AirMap, a California-based company that develops maps for drone operations. (Reuters)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Shephard News, Richard Thomas reports on how CAE is positioning itself to provide training for the U.A.E’s military drone operators.

At Gulf News Aviation, Sarah Diaa writes that Boeing has high hopes for a growing market for military drones in the Middle East.

At CNBC, Natasha Turak writes that the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency is pushing for more drone exports to U.S. partners overseas.

At The Times, Lucy Fisher reports that police in the U.K. suspect that the drone flights that disrupted flights at Gatwick Airport last December were in fact carried out by a current or former airport employee.

At DefenseNews, Grant Turnbull examines a U.S. Navy program to launch swarms of drones that could carry electronic warfare payloads.

At USNI News, Sam LaGrone writes that the U.S. Navy is rethinking its plans for how to use the MQ-8C Fire Scout, an unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance helicopter.

At The Seattle Times, Richard Korman writes a host of unanswered questions need to be resolved before drone deliveries can become a reality.

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