Weekly Roundup 8/19/19

August 12, 2019 – August 18, 2019

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Top Stories

The Alliance for System Safety of UAS through Research Excellence (ASSURE) concluded an 18-month study into the risks of injury to people on the ground from small drones. The study involved over 500 impact tests and simulations using 16 fixed-wing and multirotor drones equipped with a variety of payloads. The study, which will inform the Federal Aviation Administration’s rulemaking process, found that risk estimates from previous ASSURE collision tests were “overly conservative.” (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Turkey announced that it has begun operating drones in northern Syria in a “safe zone” established in coordination with the U.S. The Turkish military is engaged in an ongoing campaign against militant groups in the area, including the Kurdish YPG militia. The Turkish Defense Ministry provided no further details about the drone operations. (Reuters)

Know Your Drone

Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) unveiled a prototype for a medium-altitude long-endurance military drone. (Jane’s)

Meanwhile, the NCSIST also unveiled the Fire Cardinal, a tactical “air-to-ground assault” loitering munition drone. (Jane’s)

A pair of Romanian engineers have created a functioning unmanned flying saucer system. (Vice)

The U.S. Navy has issued a draft request for proposals of designs for its Large Unmanned Surface Vehicle program. (USNI News)

The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory and DZYNE Technologies completed initial flight tests of the ROBOpilot, a robotic pilot unmanned conversion system. (Press Release)

Gas sensor maker SeekOps is integrating one of its natural gas sensors on the Impossible Aerospace US-1 multirotor drone for leak detection operations. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Defense firm BAE Systems has completed a series of trials of its autonomous Pacific 950 unmanned rigid inflatable boat. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Drones at Work

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has issued Israeli firm Flytrex and U.S. firm Causey Aviation Unmanned a permit to begin drone food delivery operations as part of a pilot program in Holly Springs, North Carolina. (Supply Chain Drive)

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Sussex Police in the U.K. disclosed that it has spent over $1 million in its investigation into the drone sightings that disrupted flights at Gatwick Airport for more than 36 hours last year, and that it has yet to find the perpetrators. (sUAS News)

U.S. firm Soaring Eagle Imaging used a drone to conduct over six hours of inspections of powerlines in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Barry in Louisiana. (sUAS News)

The Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office in Kansas is expanding its drone program to include aerial operations for criminal investigations. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

Meanwhile, the Farmington Hills Police Department in Michigan has acquired two drones for search and rescue, crash scene investigations, firefighting, and other operations. (Hometown Life)

The Burleigh County Sheriff’s Department and the North Dakota Highway Patrol have been granted FAA approval to operate drones over people. (Grand Forks Herald)

The Scottish Association for Marine Science is deploying an unmanned ecoSub underwater vehicle to collect temperature and salinity data under the Kronebreen Glacier in Norway. (AUVSI)

The U.S. Army’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division has begun using Black Hornet micro-drones for active operations in Afghanistan. (Stripes)

The USDA is experimenting with drones in the Southwest to aid in alleviating water stress in crops as water in the region becomes more  scarce. (The Washington Post)

The Defense Logistics Agency conducted a series of tests with drones for delivering supplies during emergencies in Cape May County, New Jersey. (Cape May County Herald)

Industry Intel

The Commonwealth of Virginia has awarded DroneUp a contract to provide drone services to state agencies and institutions. (Press Release)

Japanese firm Terra Drone is partnering with Ventus Geospatial, a U.S.-based provider of inspection and mapping services, to create Terra Drone Ventus, a joint venture that will offer beyond visual line-of-sight drone services using C-Astral drones. (GIM International)

Ukraine’s Ukrspecexport and Turkey’s Baykar are partnering on the development of a range of defense technologies, including a high-altitude, long-endurance surveillance and strike drone. (Jane’s)

Drone Aviation announced that it has delivered surveillance aerostats to the U.S. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection Agency. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Sunbirds, a French solar drone firm, has opened an office with a workshop and maintenance center in Brisbane, Australia. (pv magazine)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In a policy brief for Peace Research Institute Oslo, Chantal Lavallée examines the ways in which the European Union can develop policies to integrate drones while accommodating societal concerns.

At The Times, Lucy Fisher argues that the U.K. is failing to consider the civilian casualties of drone strikes.

At The New York Times, Geoffrey Morrison offers a guide to traveling with a drone.

At FlightGlobal, Greg Waldron writes that Boeing Australia is stepping up its development of autonomous technologies in preparation for the first flight of the Air Teaming System prototype in 2020.

In an op-ed, the editorial board of the Sandwich Enterprise argues that the Town of Sandwich should develop policies to protect individual privacy before local public safety agencies adopt drones.

“Drones in Government Work,” a white paper by Chinese drone firm DJI, looks at how the North Carolina Department of Transportation has integrated drones into its operations. (DroneLife)

In a comic at XKCD, Randall Munroe recounts working with Serena Williams to use tennis balls to bring down drones.

At Wired, Andy Greenberg looks at how a drone can be used to hack a smart TV.

At Aviation Week, Lee Hudson writes that the U.S. Marine Corps is asking Congress not to slash the Corps’ budget for counter-drone systems by 40 percent.

Also at Aviation Week, Bill Carey describes the Commercial Drone Alliance’s efforts to speed the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s development of regulations for the commercial use of large drones.

At KTUU, Taylar Perez writes that the Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft System Integration is pioneering trials of beyond visual line-of-sight infrastructure inspections.

At The Sumter Item, Tim Leible speaks with a Sumter County, Florida man who is preparing to participate in an international drone race in South Korea.

At the Center for Maritime and International Security, Heiko Borchert argues that unmanned systems are the “go-to option for gray zone ops in the gulf.”


One comment

  1. Barry Summers

    Funny how that DJI/NCDOT paper on the North Carolina drone program misrepresents things. NGAT started in 2012, not 2015. They pretend that NGAT never existed. Maybe they’d like to erase the state’s cooperation with the DoD from the official record.

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