Weekly Roundup 9/4/17

Drones provided aerial views of the destruction incurred by Hurricane Harvey. Image via 23 ABC News/YouTube

August 28, 2017 – September 3, 2017

If you would like to receive the Weekly Roundup in your inbox, please subscribe at the bottom of the page.

At the Center for the Study of the Drone

In a story for its Rising Stars series, OZY profiles Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Arthur Holland Michel and recounts the story of how the initiative was created in 2012.


The Federal Aviation Administration has authorized 43 drone operators to conduct flights for emergency response and recovery operations and newsgathering following Hurricane Harvey. The FAA issued the authorizations after issuing a blanket ban on all private drone operations in the areas affected by the hurricane. (USA Today)

The Israeli Defense Ministry has suspended the marketing and export permit for a loitering munition drone made by Aeronautics Defense Systems following a complaint that the Israeli company was involved in a live test of the system against an Armenian military position as part of a demonstration for Azerbaijan’s military. Aeronautics has denied the allegations. (Jerusalem PostFor more on loitering munitions, click here.

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At the Wall Street Journal, Nicole Friedman and Leslie Scism write that insurance agencies are preparing to use drones to inspect the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey.

At the Scientific American, Larry Greenemeier looks at the debate over the use of drones during emergency events such as Hurricane Harvey.

At Fortune, Michael Winn argues that the FAA should permit more drones to be used to support Harvey rescue efforts.

At AIN Online, Bill Carey considers the ways in which the Trump administration is seeking to loosen restrictions on drone exports.

Meanwhile, at Aviation Week, Joe Anselmo argues that the Missile Technology Control Regime is a boon for China’s military drone makers.

At Drone Wars UK, Chris Cole examines data on U.K. air and drone strikes in Iraq and Syria that was obtained in a Freedom of Information request.

A report by the Project 2049 Institute looks at the role that Chinese drones could play in the conflicts over territories in the South and East China Seas. (Washington Free Beacon)

In Security Dialogue, Ian G.R. Shaw considers how the use of robots and drones could  influence geopolitics.

At the ASPI Strategist, Geoff Slocombe looks at how unmanned undersea vehicles could help protect manned submarines.  

In an interview with the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine, Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker explains that the MQ-25 Stingray aerial refuelling drone could nearly double the range of a carrier air wing.

At the Associated Press, Jennifer McDermott looks at how the U.S. Navy is eyeing unmanned vehicles to augment manned vessels.

At the Center for International Maritime Security, Zachary Kallenborn examines the concept of swarming sea mine drones.

At the National Interest, Dan Goure argues that ISIS drones pose a “grave threat to American forces.”

At Aviation Week, James Drew writes that Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works office is looking to develop low-cost attritable drones.

At C4ISRNet, Mark Pomerleau looks at how the U.S. Army is prioritizing manned-unmanned teaming.

Meanwhile, at Army Times, Mark Pomerleau writes that the Army is looking into the possibility of remotely-operating its Gray Eagle drones from bases inside the U.S.

At DefenseNews, Jon Wolfsthal argues that the U.S. should take steps to anticipate the spread of autonomous weapons.

Photographer Alan Schaller experimented with a drone on a recent visit to Greece. (Instagram)

The grand prize of DJI’s 2017 SkyPixel Video Contest was awarded to a drone video of volcanos on the island of Tanna, Vanuatu in the South Pacific. (The Video Mode)

Know Your Drone

U.S. robotics firm Mota Group unveiled the Lily Next-Gen, a multirotor drone based on the Lily selfie drone. Lily Robotics, the maker of the original Lily, declared bankruptcy earlier this year after raising over $30 million on Kickstarter to produce the selfie drone. (The Digital Circuit)

The U.S. Navy is developing wireless underwater charging stations for unmanned undersea vehicles. (UPI)

Russian defense firm OKB Aviaavtomatika unveiled three guided bombs developed for use on military drones. (Jane’s)

U.S. firm SolAero technologies delivered its first solar wing for the StratoAirNet solar-powered drone, which is being developed by Bye Aerospace. (FlightGlobal)

Chinese drone maker DJI has removed a number of add-ons from its mobile apps because they collected too much user data. (Engadget)

Meanwhile, DJI unveiled upgraded versions of its Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 Pro consumer drones. (TechCrunch)

Researchers at Microsoft have developed an unmanned sailplane that uses AI to autonomously seek out thermals. (Inside Unmanned Systems)

Researchers at MIT have developed an unmanned ground vehicle that can navigate through crowded areas in a way that mimics how humans move about without bumping into one another. (TechCrunch)

A 26 year-old Marine Corporal has developed a 3D-printed surveillance drone that costs just a fraction of the price of the systems currently used by the armed services. (AUVSI)

Russian firm LOKMAS unveiled the Stupor, a counter-drone jamming rifle with a range of up to 650 meters. (The Firearm Blog)

Georgia Tech and the Naval Aerospace Medical Institute are developing a series of tests to help the Navy and Marine Corps identify pilots who would be well-suited to flying drones. (Press Release)

Toymaker Propel unveiled three hobby drones inspired by spacecraft from Star Wars. (Phys.org)

Drones at Work

The Civil Aviation Administration of China is creating the country’s first test facility for civilian drone technologies. (First Post)

India’s Home Ministry is reportedly looking to acquire a series of DIEHL counter-drone jamming systems to use against rogue drones. (NDTV)

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is planning to begin using drones for disaster response operations. (WAVY)

Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are using drones to help identify algal blooms. (Daily Press)

The Spring Hill Police Department in Tennessee is acquiring a drone for a range of operations. (The Tennessean)

A company called BioCarbon Engineering is planning to use drones to plant up to 100,000 mangrove trees per day as part of a reforestation effort in the Irrawaddy Delta. (Relief Web)

The Belgian military has acquired a set of RQ-11B Raven hand-launched drones, which it plans to use for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. (Jane’s)

U.S. Drone maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has opened its new hangar at the Grand Sky Unmanned Aircraft System Business Park in North Dakota. (Press Release)

A judge in Ohio has approved the use of a drone to capture images of a crime scene to be shown to jurors in a murder trial. (Associated Press)

An Iranian military official was quoted saying that Iran’s air defenses forced a U.S. reconnaissance drone to change course in its airspace in recent months. (Reuters)

The Israel Police have equipped 14 police stations around the country with drones for surveillance and other operations. (Israel Hayom)

Industry Intel

Japan’s Mitsui will invest $4 million in Sky Futures, a U.K.-based drone firm that specializes in industrial inspections. (City A.M.)

Israel Aerospace Industries is accusing Australia’s Ministry of Defense of lacking transparency in its evaluation of the IAI Heron TP and U.S. General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper. (ABC)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Syracuse Research Corp. a $10.1 million contract for counter-unmanned aerial system supplies. (DoD)

Meanwhile, Syracuse Research Corp. announced that it will hire 80 additional personnel to accommodate new orders for counter-drone systems for the U.S. military. (Syracuse.com)

The U.S. Army awarded L3 Technologies a $69.4 million contract for manned-unmanned teaming hardware. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Marshall Radio Telemetry a $17,151 contract for a recovery system for the RQ-11 Raven. (FBO)

The U.S. Army awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $19.2 million contract modification for MQ-1C Gray Eagle performance-based logistics. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Foster-Miller a $10.6 million contract modification for the Man Transportable Robotic System. (DoD)

AeroVironment announced a stronger-than-expected fiscal first-quarter 2018, a 21 percent year-over-year growth from the same period last year. (Motley Fool)

Atlas Elektronik awarded Kraken a $343,000 contract for sensors and components for the Atlas SeaCat Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. (Press Release)

U.S. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner announced a $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to advance the development of unmanned systems in Alleghany County, Virginia. (Press Release)

Skydio, a startup founded by ex-Google employees, is trying to raise $40 million to build fully autonomous consumer drones. (Business Insider)

Kratos announced that it has received a $2.2 million contract for unmanned aircraft systems from an unnamed customer. (Press Release)  

Roboteam announced that it has received a contract for the Micro Tactical Ground Unit unmanned ground vehicle. (UPI)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter.

[includeme file=”tools/sympa/drones_sub.php”]