Weekly Roundup 7/7

A video of a fireworks display from the aerial perspective of a drone went viral over the 4th of July holiday. Credit: YouTube
A video of a fireworks display from the aerial perspective of a drone went viral over the 4th of July holiday. Credit: YouTube

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At the Center for the Study of the Drone

Joe Noci, a former military aviation executive, designs and builds sophisticated drones for anti-poaching projects in Namibia’s vast national parks. In an in-depth interview with Jason Gregg, Noci describes the benefits and the (often under-publicized) pitfalls of conservation and anti-poaching drone technology. “I see many competitions today, with many prizes to develop a low cost UAV for ‘anti-poaching.’ The end result is more often than not a group of young enthusiasts, who know very little, if anything, about the real issues in anti-poaching…when yet another clan knocks on their door you can hear them sigh, ‘ Not another one…’”


Two alleged Palestinian fighters were killed in an Israeli drone strike in Gaza. The strike took place east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp, near the border with Israel. One other Palestinian was wounded. (AFP)

In an interview with ABC’s This Week, Texas Governor Rick Perry supported the idea of an increased drone presence over the border with Mexico to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing into the U.S. Governor Perry said that he had asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to use drones.

A man in Alabama flew a drone near the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, prompting air traffic controllers to redirect flights. The amateur drone hobbyist flew a quadcopter drone into the airport’s airspace at an altitude of 3,600 feet, in violation of FAA regulations. (ABC)

Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating an incident in which a drone was spotted flying alongside an aircraft on its final approach into Vancouver International Airport. “It’s incredibly dangerous and incredibly stupid, so we will investigate this every way that we possibly can,” RCMP Sgt. Cam Kowalski told CBC News.

Commentary, Analysis and Art

At The New York Times, Somini Sengupta reports on the role that United Nations drones are playing in peacekeeping missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Meanwhile, the Timeseditorial board disapproves of President Obama’s targeted killing campaign and calls for the aircraft to be flown by the U.S. military instead of the CIA.

At The New Republic, Jessica Schulberg questions whether the U.S. ban on exporting advanced unmanned systems is really in America’s strategic interests.

Speaking on NPR, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies explains that Iran’s surveillance drones flying over Iraq are proof that Iran’s military capabilities are advancing.

A Forbes, Greg McNeal argues that a video made by a drone flying through a fireworks display that went viral over the Independence Day weekend was dangerous and illegal.

At the South China Morning Post, Danny Lee writes that Hong Kong is seeing increased numbers of drone hobbyists as a result of lax regulations against the aircraft.

At the Los Angeles Times, Maria La Ganga reports how in the Washington State legislature the debate over drones is going in circles.

Know Your Drone

Futurists at British defense contractor BAE predict that by 2040 the company will be producing large 3-D printed drones capable of a variety of missions, including search and rescue, as well as aircraft with on-board 3-D printers that can print smaller drones and other tools. (The Guardian)

The Precision Aerial Ag Show is the first trade conference dedicated to the use of drones in agriculture. The show is happening this week in Decatur, Illinois. (Farming Industry News)

Researchers at the University of Sheffield are developing quadcopter drones that are capable of autonomously investigating their environment. The drones are also programmed to monitor and predict the behavior of other drones that share their space. (Engadget)

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