Weekly Roundup 8/12

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A U.S. Predator drone reportedly took part in a series of American airstrikes against Islamic State positions in northeastern Iraq. The drone strike hit a mortar position. President Obama announced that he was ordering airstrikes to prevent Islamic State forces from taking more territory. (New York Times)

A U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan reportedly killed six people. The drones targeted a large compound near Datta Khel in the North Waziristan region. It is not known whether the dead include any major Taliban or al-Qaeda leaders. (Long War Journal)

Meanwhile, an American drone reportedly hit a target in Yemen, killing three people suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula. The attack targeted a house in Marib, a province in eastern Yemen. Two women were injured. (AFP)

Protesters from London Palestine Action occupied the roof of the UAV Engines factory in Lichfield, England. UAV Engines is a subsidiary of Elbit, one of the largest Israeli drone manufacturers. “This is a company that are making engines for weapons that have been used on the civilian population,” said Sammy, one of the protesters, in an interview with the Guardian.

A Pakistani Air Force drone crashed at an airport in the eastern Punjab province. The aircraft was attempting to land after conducting a routine reconnaissance and surveillance mission. Pakistan uses a number of unarmed reconnaissance drones to support its ground forces. (AP)

The U.S. Park Service is investigating the possibility that a drone crashed into the largest hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. A tourist, whose identity is currently unknown, complained to Park Service authorities that his or her drone crashed into the Grand Prismatic Spring. Drones are currently banned from all national parks until formal rules for the aircraft can be adopted. (CNN)

Commentary, Analysis and Art

In a conversation with NPR’s Linda Wertheimer, Air Force Maj. Gen. David Allvin discusses the future of unmanned aerial vehicles in the Air Forces.

At TIME, Nilanjana Bhowmich considers the popularity of drones among India’s security services.

At Medium, Marc Ausman argues that the FAA rules for manned aircraft can apply to regulating drones too.

At BuzzFeed, Gregory Johnsen investigates the reparation payments given to the families of those killed in an American drone strike on a wedding Yemen last year.

In LOOP>>60Hz: City of Drones futurist Liam Young imagines a city filled with drones. (CityLab)

In an op-ed for U.S. News, Arthur Holland Michel argues that “the drone is winning.”

At The Washington Post, Dan Lamothe describes a helicopter drone crash in Afghanistan in 2013.

At Defense One, Paul Scharre argues that more American drones are needed to stem the spread of al-Qaeda’s affiliates in Africa and the Middle East.

At Lens blog, New York Times photographer Tyler Hicks describes what it is like to live under drones in Gaza.

Kanye West is outraged about paparazzi drones. According to his deposition in a recent lawsuit, the rapper worries that a poorly piloted pap drone could fall on or electrocute his daughter. (TMZ)

Meanwhile, in a lament about its mediocre softball season, The Paris Review blog featured an aerial drone photo of its game against New York Magazine, taken by the Center for the Study of the Drone.

Know Your Drone

Defense contractor General Atomics has successfully tested a system that allows drones to detect nearby aircraft and report their position to ground control. According to the FAA, this system is crucial for the safe integration of unmanned aircraft into domestic airspace. (The Aviationist)

Meanwhile, the 319th Operations Support Squadron at Grand Forks Air Base successfully flew two drones in proximity to each other inside unrestricted airspace.

Dutch company Clear Flight Solutions has developed a 3D-printed robotic bird that can be used to chase real birds away from airports.

Japan’s Ministry of Defense and the U.S Navy have launched a joint project to develop a long-endurance submersible drone capable of underwater surveillance. (The Japan News)

The University of Alabama has built a large outdoor enclosure so that it can test drones without breaking FAA airspace regulations. (Phys.org)

Swiss drone company Team Black Sheep has unveiled a sleek-looking mini drone with an built-in camera. (FPV Lab)

In a joint project, engineers at Harvard and MIT have developed robots that can fold themselves into shapes, just like origami.

Drones at Work

Matternet, a Silicon Valley startup, is testing a system for using drones to deliver medicines between hospitals and rural health care providers. (Health Care Dive)

A high school in Arkansas will introduce in the Fall a year-long class in which students design and fly their own drones. (Arkansas Online)

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