Weekly Roundup 8/20/18


Ukraine’s Matrix UAV developed a drone equipped with a grenade launcher. Via Defence Blog

August 13, 2018 – August 19, 2018

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Top Stories

A U.S. drone strike in Yemen reportedly killed Ibrahim al-Asiri, an al-Qaeda bombmaker, and four associates. According to the Associated Press, the strike occurred in eastern Marib province. Al-Asiri, who has been reported dead several times before, was responsible for a number of attempted attacks, including the foiled 2009 Christmas Day plot.

The Russian military claims that the number of attempted drone attacks on its air base in Syria has increased. A Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson said that the base’s air defenses have so far downed 45 drones, including five drones in the past week. Most the drones appeared to have been launched from the northern Idlib province. (Associated Press)

Satellite images from early August appear to show that the United Arab Emirates has deployed at least one Wing Loong II medium-altitude long-endurance drone to its base at Assab airport in Eritrea. The U.A.E. already maintains a fleet of manned aircraft at the base, which it uses for operations in Yemen. (Jane’s) For more on drone bases around the globe, click here.

Know Your Drone

Robotics firm Roboteam unveiled two new unmanned ground vehicles, the Light Interoperable Ground Robot and the Reconnaissance and Surveillance Teamed Robot. (Jane’s)

Drone maker Yuneec unveiled the Mantis Q, a small consumer quadcopter. (Engadget)

A team at the University of Tokyo has developed a bipedal quadcopter drone that can walk, fly, and dance. (CNET)

SKYF, a Russian startup, is developing cargo drones that use blockchain to log their flight activity. (CoinDesk)

Moroccan startup ATLAN Space is developing an AI system that enables autonomous drones to detect and track illegal fishing, poaching, and deforestation. (CNN)

Chipmaker Intel has developed an electronic ID system for drones based on Bluetooth technology. (CNET)

Technology firm Epson has unveiled an updated version of its Moverio smart glasses, which can be used for piloting drones, among other applications. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

U.S. firm Sentera unveiled the Quad, a sensor for measuring vegetative health that can be installed on DJI Inspire and Matrice quadcopter drones. (Shephard Media)

Matrix UAV, a Ukrainian company, unveiled the Demon UAV, a small quadrotor drone equipped with an RPG-26 grenade launcher. (Defence Blog)

Drones at Work

A team from the Institut Teknologi Bandung in Indonesia is using drones to survey areas affected by the recent earthquake in East Lombok. (OpenGov Asia)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has announced flight restrictions over three sensitive facilities operated by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

As part of a major firefighting operation, the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service in Canada deployed its drone for the first time. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

Farmers in the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma are testing drones for refilling feral pig traps with dried corn. (USA Today)

The French armed forces have deployed a team of counter-drone specialists to an air base in Jordan where it has numerous units deployed. (Press Release)

Authorities in Sagunto, Spain used a drone to drop inflatable life jackets to a group of swimmers who had become trapped in an undertow. (New Atlas)

As part of its UAS Integration Pilot Program, the Kansas Department of Transportation conducted its first beyond line-of-sight drone operation. (KSNW)

Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration granted the Northern Plains UAS Test Site in Grand Forks, North Dakota permission to fly long range beyond line-of-sight test operations. (FutureStructure)

Industry Intel

Aeronautics Defense Systems, an Israeli drone manufacturer, rejected a buyout proposal from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. (Reuters)

The U.S. Air Force awarded George Mason University a $60.5 million contract for work on the Mobile Unmanned/Manned Distributed Lethality Airborne Network. (DoD)

The German Navy selected the UMS Skeldar V-200 rotary-wing drone for it’s K130 corvette. The package, which includes two aircraft and associated equipment, will be deployed by the end of 2019. (Navy Recognition)

Spain’s Ministry of Defense is soliciting proposals for a $4.9 million contract for small drones for foreign military training missions. (Jane’s)

The U.K.’s Network Rail Infrastructure is soliciting proposals for a $8.6 million contract for drones to inspect structures, line equipment, and bridge surveys. (Shephard Media)

Turkish Aerospace Industries has offered the Anka surveillance drone to the Indonesian Ministry of Defense under a competition for a medium-altitude long-endurance drone. (Air Recognition)

5×5 Technologies, a Florida-based company that supports commercial drone operations, raised $5.5 million from an undisclosed investor. (Tampa Bay Business Journal)

The Chilean Marine Corps has acquired the DJI Mavic Pro for base perimeter security measures at Fort Felix Aguayo. (Jane’s)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

A report by Elsa Kania at the China Aerospace Studies Institute examines the People’s Liberation Army’s drone capabilities. (PDF)

At Wired, Jason Kehe explains the meaning behind the word “swarm” and why it is frequently misused to describe teams of multiple drones.

At the New York Times, Nick Madigan looks at how drones have become essential tools in construction and real estate.

Bloomberg News profiles Abdoul Salam Nizeyimana, an engineer leading Zipline’s efforts in Rwanda to use drones to deliver medical equipment.

At the Council on Foreign Relations, David P. Fidler considers the potential implications of a Uniform Law Commission proposal to expand the legal definition of trespass to encompass drone overflights of private property.

At Foreign Policy, Faine Greenwood argues that the attempted drone attack on Maduro shows that the hype around drone attacks is greater than the perceived threat.  

At InSight Crime, Parker Asmann considers whether Mexican cartels may begin using armed drones in the future.

At War on the Rocks, Joseph Hanack argues that while there is no perfect solution to countering drones, there are various viable options available today.

At Defense News, Seth J. Frantzman writes that the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act could lead to closer cooperation between the U.S. and Israel on countering drones.

At Sludge, Jay Cassano writes that the U.S. military’s budget for artificial intelligence is set to receive a boost in the 2019 defense authorization legislation. Center Co-director Dan Gettinger was interviewed for this story.

At The Atlantic, Daniel J. Rosenthal and Loren DeJonge Schulman argue that the Trump administration has expanded the use of armed drones with little oversight.

At C4ISRNET, Kelsey Atherton looks at how the Russian Ministry of Defense is encouraging Russian universities to work on military robots.

At Aviation Week, Angus Batey writes that a recent record-breaking flight by the Airbus Zephyr S demonstrates the potential of pseudo-satellite drones.

In a Drone Radio Show podcast, Brian Fentiman discusses ways in which drone countermeasures can enhance public safety.

At The Wall Street Journal, Juan Forero and Kejal Vyas look into why the Colombian police are turning to drones to destroy coca plants.

At GeekWire, Alan Boyle writes that researchers at the University of Washington and the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma are exploring ways to improve drone tracking systems.

Verity Studios, a Swiss-based entertainment firm that creates drone shows, will collaborate with Drake on the rap artist’s upcoming tour. (DroneLife)

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