Weekly Roundup 3/30/20

Please note: this is the final Weekly Roundup for the time being. We want to thank you for sticking with us all these years. We will be following up shortly with more information about how to stay in touch and keep on top of the news in the world of drones moving forward.

Update to the Center’s “Drone Databook”

Since the publication of The Drone Databook in September 2019 we have continued to track developments in global military drone proliferation. This comprehensive update to the original report includes more than 100 additions, modifications, and corrections to the inventory, personnel, operations, infrastructure, research and development, and export sections of nearly 50 countries. We now estimate that there are at least 102 countries with active military drone programs.

Top Stories

The U.S. Marine Corps announced that it will double the number of units that operate drones as part of a 10-year transition plan. The plan calls for the armed service to use more drones for strike and reconnaissance missions, as well as battlefield supply operations, and would see a commensurate reduction in its manned helicopter force. (Inside Unmanned Systems)

Know Your Drone

China’s People’s Liberation Army unveiled a BZK-005 medium-altitude long-endurance drone equipped with a synthetic aperture radar for wide-area surveillance operations. (Jane’s)

European firms Cicaré, Invap, and Marinelli unveiled the Asteri 160, a helicopter drone designed for defense, intelligence, and agricultural applications. (infodron.es)

Engineers from the University of South Australia and drone maker Draganfly are attempting to develop a drone that can detect people who are showing signs of the novel coronavirus. (New Atlas)

Drone maker UAVOS and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology unveiled a jointly developed flight control system for the Saker-1B medium-altitude long-endurance drone. (Shephard Media)

Indian firm Dynamatic Technologies unveiled the Patang, a tethered surveillance multirotor drone. (Shephard Media)

Italian drone distributor Elite Consulting has developed a delivery box to transport swabs and other medical supplies on a small multirotor drone. (UAS Magazine)

Drones at Work

The Tunisian Ministry of Interior is using an unmanned ground vehicle to patrol Tunis in a bid to help enforce the country’s coronavirus lockdown. (defenceWeb)

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Armed Forces will use drones to enforce its own lockdown measures. (The Malaysian Reserve)

The Saudi-led coalition claimed that it intercepted several Houthi group drones that were targeting civilian areas in Abha and Khamis Mushait. (Reuters)

Transport Canada has granted MVT Geo-solutions and Iris Automation the country’s first certificate for beyond visual line-of-sight operations using only onboard detect-and-avoid sensors. (Press Release)

A team at Queensland University of Technology is planning to use drones equipped with infrared sensors to create a census of wildlife that survived Australia’s recent bushfires. (AUVSI)

Industry Intel

The government of Malaysia has taken delivery of its first batch of Insitu ScanEagle 2 drones, which were acquired through the U.S. Maritime Security Initiative program. (Jane’s)

The Drone Racing League announced that viewership in China reached seven million in 2019, a 70 percent increase over the previous year. (Reuters)

UPS Flight Forward selected German drone maker Wingcopter to develop package delivery drones. (UAS Magazine)

DroneLogbook has partnered with Parrot to provide enhanced flight tracking for Parrot’s ANAFI drone. (AUVSI)

Fugro and SEA-KIT have partnered to develop new unmanned surface vehicles for offshore inspections. (AUVSI)

Skyfire Consulting, a subsidiary of Atlanta Drone Group, acquired Viking UAS, a Maine-based drone manufacturer. (Mainebiz)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Bloomberg, Blake Schmidt and Ashlee Vance examine how DJI’s position as the world’s largest drone maker may be looking increasingly tenuous.

Also at Bloomberg, Ira Boudway looks at how Zipline is working to bring drone deliveries to the U.S.

At Drone Law Blog, Jonathan Rupprecht compiled a database of drone-related lawsuits and litigation.

At finfeed, Jonathan Jackson looks at the ways in which drones are being retooled for the COVID-19 challenge.

Meanwhile, at Military.com, Oriana Pawlyk writes that the U.S. military has no plans to use drones to tackle COVID-19.

At C4ISRNET, Kelsey D. Atherton looks at how one drone manufacturer is developing hybrid drones to maximize flexibility.

In an op-ed at Government Technology, Brent Skorup and Connor Haaland argue that cities and localities should have a greater role in regulating commercial drone activities.

At the Middle East Institute, Dr. Ali Bakeer looks at how drones have become central to Turkey’s military strategy.

At AUVSI, Kevin Switick offers drone startups a roadmap for how to build a sustainable business.