Weekly Roundup 3/23/20

March 16, 2020 – March 22, 2020

Top Stories

The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against two men for conspiring to smuggle contraband into prison with drones. Investigators said the two New Jersey men used drones to smuggle more than 160 cell phones, 150 SIM cards, 74 cell phone batteries and chargers, 35 syringes, two metal blades, marijuana, and steroids into Fort Dix Federal Prison. (NJ.com)

The government of Tunisia has reportedly awarded Turkish Aerospace Industries a contract for six Anka-S medium-altitude long-endurance drones and associated equipment. The $240 million contract would be Turkey’s first international sale of the Anka-S, a satellite-enabled variant of the Anka drone. (Defense News)

Know Your Drone

Turkish firm Harp Arge unveiled the ES-60, a counter-drone jamming rifle. (Daily Sabah)

U.S. startup ThereCraft unveiled plans for a drone delivery system using aircraft that can deposit their packages without landing. (Aviation Week)

A team of researchers from Aalto University, UCLouvain, and New York University is studying the radar cross-section of commercial drones to improve detection capabilities for counter-drone systems. (Science Daily)

A team at Microsoft has developed a machine learning system that trained itself to fly drones by practicing in a simulation. (Venture Beat)

A team at the University of Zurich has developed a collision avoidance system that enables drones to detect incoming objects in just a few milliseconds—fast enough to play dodgeball. (New Atlas)

Drones at Work

The U.K. Department for Transport announced a consultation to explore the use of drones for medical deliveries, among other emerging transportation technologies. (TechCrunch)

Drone maker Schiebel and drone services firm Nordic Unmanned completed a successful test of the CAMCOPTER S-100 rotary-wing drone for measuring ship emissions in shipping lanes. (Inside Unmanned Systems)

The Owensboro Police Department in Kentucky has acquired a drone for a range of operations. (The Messenger-Inquirer)

The Chula Vista Police Department in California announced that it plans to use drones equipped with loudspeakers to identify individuals who defy the coronavirus lockdown and instruct them to go home. (Financial Times)

Meanwhile, police in southern France have begun using loudspeaker-equipped drones to help enforce the country’s coronavirus lockdown. (Reuters)

And police in Spain have also reportedly used drones for this same purpose. (Reuters)

Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom has installed an Aaronia counter-drone system to help detect intruding unmanned aircraft. (Commercial Drone Professional)

A man enduring the coronavirus lockdown in Cyprus used a drone to help walk his dog. (New York Daily News)

Industry Intel

Orbital UAV and an unnamed Singaporean defense firm have partnered to develop multi-fuel engines for drones. (Defence Connect)

The U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratory awarded HORIBA MIRA and QinetiQ contracts to develop unmanned ground vehicles for the British Army. (Shephard Media)

DraganFly and AeroVironment have partnered to distribute the AeroVironment Quantix Mapper to commercial markets worldwide. (Robotics Business Review)

India’s Ministry of Defense issued a request for information for 100 portable loitering munitions. (Jane’s)

According to an announcement in a Chinese state-sponsored media outlet, the People’s Liberation Army intends to acquire CH-901 and WS-43 loitering munition drones. (National Interest)

The U.S. Air Force Research Lab awarded Planck Aerospace a contract to develop guidance and navigation systems for small drones. (Inside Unmanned Systems)

TEOCO and Swisscom have partnered to optimize mobile radio networks for commercial drone traffic. (Press Release)

The Australian Department of Defence downselected Insitu Pacific, Leidos Australia, Raytheon Pacific, and Textron Systems Australia to compete for the contract to replace the Army’s Shadow 200. (Asia Defence Reporter)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In a video at Bloomberg, Kellen Tse explains how his company uses drones to help fight the coronavirus.

At Filmmaker Magazine, Matt Mulcahey describes the complicated route one filmmaker took to build a successful business with drones.

At Government Technology, Jed Pressgrove looks at a California-based drone manufacturer that is aiming to replace police helicopters with drones.

At Avionics International, Brian Garrett-Glaser looks at how commercial drone services companies are reflecting on the 53,000 comments on the FAA’s remote identification proposal.

At USNI News, Megan Eckstein writes that the U.S. Navy is planning to double the number of unmanned systems in its Expeditionary Mine Countermeasures Company.

At Inside Unmanned Systems, Charles Choi explains the importance of beyond visual line-of-sight drone operations for farming.

At CNBC, Amanda Macias visits a factory in Mississippi where the U.S. Navy is building a new unmanned warship.