All posts by Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College

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The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 8/21/17

A U.S. Marine tests an Instant Eye drone during exercises on August 18 in Virginia. Credit: Lance Cpl. Michaela R. Gregory

August 14, 2017 – August 20, 2017


During a nighttime flight in the Persian Gulf, an Iranian surveillance drone followed a U.S. aircraft carrier and came within 300 feet of a U.S. fighter jet. It was the second time in a week that an Iranian drone interfered with U.S. Navy operations in the Gulf. In a statement, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said that its drones were operated “accurately and professionally.” (Associated Press)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

A report by the RAND Corporation argues that distributed, localized drone hubs can reduce energy consumption for drone delivery programs in urban centers. (StateScoop)

At the Economist, Tom Standage writes that toys like hobby drones can “sometimes give birth to important technologies.”

At the Atlantic, Naomi Nix looks at how the Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative is investing in programs that teach students how to build and operate drones.

At Aviation Week, David Hambling examines the growing demand for small, pocket-sized military drones.

At Slate, Faine Greenwood argues that the U.S. military should not use consumer drones.

At the Los Angeles Times, W.J. Hennigan reports that U.S. drones are performing danger-close strikes in support of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

At TechCrunch, Jon Hegranes separates the “fiction from feasibility” of drone deliveries.

At DefenseNews, Adam Stone looks at how the U.S. Navy is investing in a command-and-control system with an eye to someday operating drones from carriers.  

At the Modern War Institute, Dan Maurer considers whether military ethics and codes should apply to robot soldiers.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Benny Evangelista considers recent reports of close encounters between drones and manned aircraft.

At War is Boring, Robert Beckhusen writes that the Israeli military is investigating allegations that an Israeli drone manufacturer carried out a drone strike against Armenian soldiers as part of a product demonstration.

At Popular Mechanics, David Hambling considers whether an armed quadrotor drone is ethical or even practical.

At Washington Technology, Ross Wilkers looks into Boeing’s push to become a leader in the field of autonomous weapons systems.

Know Your Drone

Israeli firm Meteor Aerospace is developing a medium-altitude long-endurance surveillance and reconnaissance drone. (FlightGlobal)

Following the U.S. Army’s decision to discontinue use of its products, Chinese drone maker DJI is speeding the development of a security system that allows users to disconnect drones from DJI’s servers while in flight. (The New York Times)

Huntington Ingalls Industries demonstrated its Proteus dual-mode unmanned undersea vehicle at an exercise held by the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center. (Jane’s)

A team from the University of Sherbrooke is developing a fixed-wing drone that uses thrust to achieve perched landings. (IEEE Spectrum)

The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is developing a fuel cell-powered drone called Hybrid Tiger that could have an endurance of up to three days. (Jane’s)

China’s Beijing Sifang Automation is developing an autonomous unmanned boat called SeaFly, which it hopes will be ready for production by the end of the year. (Jane’s)

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency unveiled the Assured Autonomy program, which seeks to build better trustworthiness into a range of military unmanned systems. (Shephard Media)

Taiwan’s National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology unveiled an anti-radiation loitering munition drone. (Shephard Media)

Amazon has patented a retractable tube that can be used to funnel packages from delivery drones to the ground. (Puget Sound Business Journal)

Meanwhile, Wal-Mart has been awarded a patent for a floating warehouse that could be used to carry goods for drone deliveries. (CNBC)

Telecommunications company AT&T is looking to develop autonomous systems to make drones more efficient for cell tower inspections. (Unmanned Aerial Online)  

Drones at Work

The U.S. Forest Service used a drone to to collect data over the Minerva Fire in the Plumas National Forest. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

A team of researchers from Oklahoma State University and the University of Nebraska are planning to use drones to study atmospheric conditions during the upcoming solar eclipse. (Popular Science)

In a test, U.S. drone maker General Atomics flew its new Grey Eagle Extended Range drone for 42 hours. (Jane’s)

In a U.S. Navy exercise, an MQ-8B Fire Scout helicopter drone was handed off between control stations while in flight. (Shephard Media)

A U.S. MQ-1 Predator drone crashed shortly after taking off from Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. (

The Michigan Department of Corrections announced that three people have been arrested after attempting to use a drone to smuggle drugs and a cellphone into a prison in the city of Ionia. (New York Post)

Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents in San Diego, California arrested a man for allegedly flying a drone laden with drugs over the U.S.-Mexico border. (The San Diego Tribune)

A medevac helicopter responding to a fatal car crash in Michigan had to abort its first landing attempt at the scene because a drone was spotted flying over the area. (MLive)

NASA plans to once again use its Global Hawk high-altitude drone to study severe storms over the Pacific this hurricane season. (International Business Times)

Police in Glynn County, Georgia used a drone to search for a suspect fleeing in a marshy area. (Florida Times-Union)

The Regina Police Service Traffic Unit in Canada is acquiring drones to collect data over collision scenes. (Global News)

A photo essay at the National Review examines quadrotor drones at work in both civilian and military spheres.

Industry Intel

DefenseNews reports that General Atomics is hoping to sell around 90 Avenger drones, the successor to the Reaper, to an unnamed international customer.

The Ohio Federal Research Network is behind a $7 million initiative to make Ohio a center for drone research. (Dayton Daily News)

The U.K.’s Defense Science and Technology Laboratory awarded Qinetiq a $5.8 million contract to lead the Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation project. (Shephard Media)

Insitu has partnered with FireWhat and Esri to provide firefighters with improved aerial intelligence. (Shephard Media)

3DR, Global Aerospace, and Harpenau Insurance have partnered to offer businesses drone insurance that covers legal liability and physical damage. (TechRepublic)

Aerialtronics, a Dutch industrial drone maker, announced that it has applied for a solvency procedure and will seek new investors. (Press Release)

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $7.5 million foreign military sales contract for six ScanEagle drones for the Philippines. (DoD)

 The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $319,886 contract for the procurement of Strongback Module Assemblies.

The U.S. Air Force awarded Area I a $5 million contract for the development of air-launched drones. (FBO)

The U.S. Army awarded Gird Systems a $148,364 contract for squad-level counter-drone technology. (FBO)

The U.S. Army awarded Airspace Systems a $1.9 million contract for autonomous drone defense. (FBO)

The U.S. Army awarded RPX Technologies a $147,905 contract for a micro IR thermal imaging camera for nano-UAVs. (FBO)

The U.S. Department of Interior awarded Brocktek a $65,000 contract for 3DR Solo drones. (FBO)  

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter. The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world. You can subscribe to the Roundup here.

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 8/14/17

Australia retired the IAI Heron drone after eight years of service. The Royal Australian Air Force is currently seeking a replacement. Image via Aviation Analysis Wing

August 7, 2017 – August 13, 2017


Two U.S. airstrikes targeted members of al-Shabab in Somalia. In a statement, the U.S. Africa Command said the strikes were “conducted within the parameters of the proposal approved by the President in March 2017.” A spokesperson said the strikes were carried out by drones. (ABC News)

In a classified guidance issued last month, the Department of Defense authorized the U.S. military to seize or destroy drones that appear to endanger the airspace or pose a threat to military installations. Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis told reporters that the move was a response to the “increase of commercial and private drones” in the U.S. (Reuters)

An Iranian drone interfered with a U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornet jet in the Persian Gulf. In a statement, the U.S. military said that the drone flew within 100 feet of the manned fighter as it was preparing to land on the USS Nimitz. (Washington Post)

Turkish authorities have detained a Russian citizen with ties to ISIS for allegedly planning to use a drone to attack a U.S. military base. Police in Adana claim that Renad Bakiev admitted to reconnoitering Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey. (Associated Press)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At the Financial Times, Louise Lucas writes that China-based drone manufacturer DJI is considering making a move toward the commercial sector.

At C4ISRNet, Jen Dunham argues that hiring more analysts won’t help the U.S. military analyze all the data from drones.

A report by CorpWatch examines the contractors and technologies that underpin U.S. military drone operations.

At Defense Tech, Oriana Pawlyk writes that U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones are taking on more missions in Afghanistan.

At Air and Space Magazine, Tim Wright considers how recent events have impacted DJI’s brand image.

At Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton looks at why the U.S. Army recently issued a ban on DJI drones.

Also at Popular Science, Kendra Pierre-Louis looks at how the U.S. Forest Service is working to dissuade drone users from flying over wildfires.

At 9News, Mike Dalton profiles Carbonix, an Australian company that makes lightweight airframes for drones.

At the Wichita Eagle, Jerry Siebenmark looks at how drone companies in Kansas are adapting to changes in the drone industry.

ABC News visited a U.S. police department’s training facility to see how drones are aiding law enforcement operations.

At Defense News, David B. Larter writes that the U.S. Navy is exploring ways of using drones and artificial intelligence to repair damaged airfields.

At Offiziere, Paul Iddon writes that Turkey is moving to step up production of armed drones.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board argues that the Los Angeles County Sheriff should adopt a more transparent process for integrating drones into police work.

At the Wall Street Journal, Nicole Friedman writes that insurance companies are increasingly relying on drones to inspect physical damage to properties.

At the San Francisco Chronicle, Carolyn Said looks at how robots and drones are taking on more roles in food delivery.

At WFTV, Lauren Seabrook writes that a new state law in Florida that offers more opportunities for drone businesses conflicts with local drone ordinances.

At Drone Law Blog, Jonathan Rupprecht offers the pros and cons of the proposed Drone Operator Safety Act of 2017.

Know Your Drone

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions announced that a classified military drone that it is developing for an unnamed program will enter into production this year. (FlightGlobal)

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems has modified its Fencepost acoustic surveillance system to function as a counter-drone device. (Aviation Week)

Northrop Grumman is using an X-47B drone as a testbed for the Navy’s MQ-25A Stingray aerial refueling drone. (Aviation Week) For more on the X-47B, click here.

Drones at Work

A drone hobbyist in Scotland managed to land an off-the-shelf consumer drone on the deck of the Royal Navy’s HMS Queen Elizabeth, a modern aircraft carrier. (The Telegraph)

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission approved a policy to use drones for construction management, environmental monitoring, and inspection. (San Francisco Examiner)

The Worldview International Foundation is planning to use drones to plant tree seeds as part of a reforestation effort in Myanmar. (Fast Company)

The Kansas Department of Transportation and app maker AirMap are partnering to develop a drone air traffic management system. (The Wichita Eagle)

China is operating a dozen unmanned undersea vehicles for scientific observations in the South China Sea. (CNBC)

An Indian Air Force drone crashed during a flight over the Kathua district. (Indian Express)

Researchers from Cornell are using drones to measure surface reflectivity on the landscape as a means of studying climate change. (

The local government in Tamil Nadu is planning to use mapping drones for a flood mitigation project. (The Hindu)

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and the Daytona Beach Police Department are partnering to develop a police drone program. (Drone Life)

The Israeli Defence Ministry is investigating reports that defense firm Aeronautics was asked by Azerbaijan to carry out a live demonstration of a loitering munition drone against Armenian forces. (Jerusalem Post)

The Muriwai Surf Life Saving Club in New Zealand is planning to use drones for patrolling a popular beach. (News Hub)

Researchers who used a drone last year to collect pollutant samples from the open burning of waste at an Army ammunition facility in Virginia found arsenic and other pollutants. (

The Royal Australian Air Force has retired its Heron surveillance and reconnaissance drone. (Shephard Media)

The U.S. Air Force announced that it will participate in “ThunderDrone,” a competition to develop new drone capabilities. (DefenseNews)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $12.9 million contract for work on the Squad X Experimentation program. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Dragonfly Pictures a $2.84 million contract for research into unmanned maritime systems. (FBO)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Pretalen a $149,698 contract for ADS-B for unmanned aircraft operations. (FBO)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Raytheon a $25.9 million contract for upgrades to the sensors onboard the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (UPI)

The U.S. Air Force awarded KeyW a $24 million contract for research into Multi-Sensor Multi-Domain Fusion. (Press Release)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Endeavor Robotics a contract for 32 small unmanned ground vehicles.  (Shephard Media)

Drone Aviation, a Florida-based manufacturer of tethered drones, raised $4 million in funding. (Press Release)  

CB Insights identified the top 15 early-stage drone startups according to disclosed funding levels.

FlyNex, a German drone startup, reported closed a seven-figure seed funding round. (Finsmes)

Boston-based Altaeros raised $7.5 million in funding from SoftBank Group to use tethered aerostats to bring broadband wireless to rural areas. (TechCrunch)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter. The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world. You can subscribe to the Roundup here.

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 8/7/17

The EMILY lifesaver drone. Credit: Hydronalix

July 31, 2017 – August 6, 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 an interview with OpenGov, Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Arthur Holland Michel discusses the main trendlines in the ongoing evolution of drone technology.


A U.S. drone strike in Somalia reportedly killed a member of al-Shabab. In a statement, the U.S. Africa Command said that the strike took place in the Lower Shabelle region, an al-Shabab stronghold. (Associated Press)

The Trump administration is reviewing a drone exports policy established by the Obama administration. According to an official who spoke to DefenseNews, the review is part of a broader effort to find “smarter new approaches to U.S. defense trade policy.” The Obama administration placed controls on drone technology exports to U.S. allies in 2015.

A small tethered drone will help the U.S. Secret Service provide perimeter security during President Trump’s visit to the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey this month. In an announcement, the agency said that the test is part of an initiative to explore new technologies for security operations. (Reuters)

Citing cyber vulnerabilities, the U.S. Army has instructed its units to discontinue the use of all drones made by DJI, the popular Chinese manufacturer. The decision appears to have been based on a classified study and a Navy memo on security issues in DJI products. (Reuters)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Wired, officials at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency discuss the history of the DARPA Grand Challenge, a groundbreaking robotics competition.  

At an event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute, Adm. Paul Zukunft discussed the Coast Guard’s history with drone acquisition and operations. (USNI News)

At the BBC, Paul Marks looks at how law enforcement agencies in the U.K. identify and investigate rogue drone users.

At the Ringer, Kate Knibbs considers how police departments in the U.S. are using robots.

At the Middle East Institute, Dennis M. Gormley argues that the Trump administration should continue President Obama’s push to regulate armed drones.

At the Diplomat, Tobias Burgers and Scott N. Romaniuk consider how China’s new maritime loitering munition represents an evolution in drone technology.

Know Your Drone

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation has made a number of upgrades to its CH-4 Rainbow surveillance and strike drone. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

A team of security researchers has demonstrated that sonic blasts can be used to hack a number of electronic devices, including drones. (Fox News)

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Zurich University of the Arts have developed a hexacopter with independently rotating propellers that is capable of flying in far more acrobatic ways than traditional multirotor drones. (Yanko Design)

The University of Michigan has announced that it is developing an outdoor flight testing facility for drones. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

In a project for DARPA, engineering firm Draper and a team from MIT are developing drones that can navigate through complex environments without GPS. (Drone Life)

A team at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is developing an app-based management system for large military drones. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

Following a 10-month definition process, the Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation has decided that its European Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance drone will have a twin turboprop design. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

Ukraine’s SpetsTechnoExport has conducted a weapons test of its Fantom-2 unmanned ground vehicle. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

U.S. firm Gryphon sensors has unveiled an unmanned traffic management system called Mobile Skylight. (UAS Magazine)

Drones at Work

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident in which a drone was spotted near a runway at Newark International Airport. (USA Today)

China’s People’s Liberation Army confirmed that it is now operating the CH-901, a loitering munition drone. (Popular Science) For more on loitering munitions, click here.

The Duluth Fire Department in Minnesota is testing EMILY, an unmanned surface vehicle designed for saving stranded swimmers, with an eye to possibly acquiring the system to use on Lake Superior. (Grand Forks Herald)

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) introduced a bill that makes it illegal to fly drones near airports without permission. (The Hill)

The Fort Wayne Police Department in Indiana has acquired two drones for a range of operations, including emergency response and environmental surveys. (News Sentinel)

Kentucky governor Matt Bevin has accused a local news channel of invading his privacy after it flew a drone over his private property. (CNET)

A team of researchers from University of Colorado Boulder and Black Swift Technologies are using fixed-wing drones to measure water moisture at a test irrigation farm. (Daily Camera)

The U.S. Army and the Army of the Republic of Macedonia are constructing a 300m-long runway for drones in the Krivolak Training Area. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

The North Dakota Air National Guard took delivery of its first new MQ-9 Reaper drone. (Associated Press)

The government of Zambia has begun using a Chinese CH-3 drone for surveying applications. (East Pendulum)

Israel has offered to teach special forces units in the Ghana Armed Forces how to use tactical surveillance drones. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

Jordan Temkin won first place at the Drone Racing League’s 2017 Allianz Circuit Season Finale for the second year in a row. (Drone360)

Google’s Project Wing is seeking approval from Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority to test delivery drones. (Canberra Times)

Industry Intel

3D Robotics partnered with DJI to provide the 3DR Site Scan surveying tools to DJI drones. (Construction Dive)

Snap is reportedly negotiating to buy Zero Zero Robotics, the China-based manufacturer of the Hover Camera selfie drone, for between $150 and $200 million. (TechCrunch)  

Atlas Dynamics, a startup that builds carbon-fiber drones, raised $8 million. (Electronics 360)

Aerobotics, a South African startup that provides drones to agricultural users, raised nearly $600,000 in a seed-funding round led by 4Di Capital and Savannah Fund. (Venture Burn)

Exxaro, a South African mining company, contracted Rocketmine for drones that will create 3D photogrammetry models of mine stockpiles. (IT Web)

U.S. drone services company Measure acquired Pilatus Unmanned, a provider of custom drones for enterprise customers. (Press Release)

The U.S. Army awarded SRC an $11 million contract for electronic warfare improvements to the Small UAS Integrated Defeat System. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $19.9 million contract to identify solutions to “near-term emergent obsolescence issues” for the MQ-4C Triton. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $2.94 million contract for MQ-8 Fire Scout logistics and training sustainment. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $263,762 contract to provide support for the MQ-8 Fire Scout UAS Tactical Control System. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $213,134 contract to provide software to support the integration of the COBRA payload. (FBO)  

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $13,661 contract to provide engineering support for the RQ-21A Blackjack shipboard testing. (FBO)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin a $3.35 million contract for an “energy innovative” and low cost small drone. (FBO)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded BAYSPEC a $44,530 contract for a hyperspectral imager that can be integrated onto a drone. (FBO)

DIUx awarded Photon-X a $2.26 million contract for counter-drone “passive real-time 3D sensors.” (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded 3R Robotics a $75,000 contract for virtual reality software. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Endeavor Robotics a $32,003 contract for a controller for the Endeavor SUGV 310 EOD robot. (FBO)

Indonesia is in talks to buy armed drones from China. (Jane’s)

Singapore’s ST Electronics has purchased an Aveillant Gamekeeper counter-drone system, which it has installed in downtown Singapore. (Today Online)

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

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 7/31/17

A U.S. Army soldier launches an RQ-11 Raven during an exercise in North Carolina on July 27. Credit: Staff Sgt. Andrew Lee/U.S. Air Force

July 24, 2017 – July 30, 2017

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

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In an in-depth article at Wired, Jessica Pishko chronicles the rise and fall of the drone startup Lily Robotics.

At Drone 360, Leah Froats uses data provided by the FAA to find out why certain Part 107 waiver requests are denied.

At the National Interest, Paul Scharre argues that drones are challenging international security norms.

Also at the National Interest, Lyle J. Goldstein looks at how the race for air and sea drones could intensify competition between the U.S. and China.

At the Redlands Daily Facts, Sandra Emerson writes that a local police department’s drone program is drawing concerns from residents.

Meanwhile, at the Los Angeles Times, Maya Lau writes that a civilian oversight board is pushing Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to stop flying its drones.

A study funded by the U.K. Department of Transport found that while airliner windshields could withstand a collision with a drone, other aircraft remain vulnerable. (Gov.UK)

In response to Transport’s report on drone impacts, a coalition of drone manufacturers pressed the government to release the data underpinning its findings. (BBC)

At Shephard News, Richard Thomas looks at how the commercial drone market continues to consolidate.

At Aviation Week, Graham Warwick contends that the development of future low-cost drones depends on the availability of low-cost engines.  

Also at Aviation Week, John Morris writes that the 2017 EAA AirVenture, the world’s largest air show, features drones and other new technologies.  

At Real Clear Defense, Robbin Laird examines the Navy’s approach to manned-unmanned teaming.

Researchers at Stanford University consider whether control of a drone swarm should be centralized or decentralized. (

At Lawfare, Elsa Kania looks at how China seeks to leverage civilian advances in artificial intelligence for military gain.

In the NATO Review magazine, Col. Gjert Lage Dyndal examines legal and ethical issues associated with autonomous weapons.  

At an event in Washington, Gen. David Goldfein said that the Air Force needs better artificial intelligence in order to improve intelligence collection. (DefenseTech)

At an Ars Live event, Lisa Ling discussed her role as a drone imagery analyst for the U.S. Air National Guard. (Ars Technica)

At the National Geographic, Christina Nunez looks at how affordable underwater drones are aiding marine conservationists.

Meanwhile, students at the University of Washington are building underwater drones to study the ocean surrounding Antarctica. (UW)

At Air and Space Magazine, Tim Wright writes that the counter-drone industry could eventually be worth over a billion dollars.

At the U.S. Naval Institute, Lt. Alex Laun argues that the Navy needs a point person to coordinate the development of autonomous unmanned systems.

At Defense One, Caroline Houck looks at the technological advances that could enable “terror drones” to reach U.S. shores.

A drone video by architect Mariana Bisti offers an aerial perspective of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers. (dezeen)

Know Your Drone

Ukraine’s Iskra Scientific and Production Complex unveiled the Spectator-M, a small military reconnaissance drone. (Kyiv Post)

Russian design bureau Sovremennye Aviatsionnye Teknologii has unveiled a concept for a reconnaissance and strike drone based on the SR-10 jet trainer. (Jane’s)

Amazon has been granted a patent for a system by which its proposed delivery drones scan a customer’s home upon delivering a product in order to develop product recommendations for future purchases. (CNET)

British firm FlyLogix broke a national record for the longest beyond-line-of-sight drone flight during an 80km operation to inspect structures in the Irish Sea. (The Telegraph)

Rohde & Schwarz, ESG, and Diehl unveiled the Guardion, a counter-drone system. (Jane’s)

Researchers at Moscow Technological Institute have developed a defibrillator drone with a range of up to 50km. (TechCrunch)

The U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development, and Engineering Center is developing a robotic refueling system for helicopters. (Shephard Media)

India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed an unmanned tank for reconnaissance and mine detection. (Economic Times)

Using hundreds of plastic ducks, researchers at University of Adelaide in Australia have demonstrated that drones are more effective for counting birds than traditional techniques. (New Scientist)

Drones at Work

A team from Queensland University of Technology in Australia is planning to use drones to count koalas as part of a conservation initiative. (

Matagorda County and Wharton County in Texas are acquiring three drones for a range of operations. (The Bay City Tribune)

The Fire Department and Police Department of Orange, Connecticut have acquired a drone for emergency operations. (Milford-Orange Bulletin)

The Philippine Air Force is evaluating the Hermes 900 surveillance and reconnaissance drone for possible acquisition. (FlightGlobal)

A drone carrying cell phones and other contraband crashed into the yard at the Washington State Prison in Georgia. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

North Carolina has adopted a bill that expands drone rules to recreational model aircraft and prohibits drone use near prisons. (Triangle Business Journal)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $19.6 million contract for five ScanEagle systems and support for the Government of Afghanistan. (DoD)

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $3.01 million contract to integrate the Alticam 11 EO/IR Turret on the RQ-21A Blackjack. (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman a $211,397 contract for software for the MQ-8 Fire Scout. (FBO)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $10.2 million contract for the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node, a sensor on board the RQ-4 Global Hawk. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded R.C. Construction a $4.74 million contract for a Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Facility at Fort Benning, Georgia. (FBO)

Singular Aircraft finalized a contract to test the Flyox unmanned amphibious aircraft at the Pendleton Unmanned Aircraft System Test Range in Oregon. (My Columbia Basin)  

AeroVironment finalized a contract with the Australian Defence Force for the Wasp AE micro reconnaissance drone. (Press Release)

The Department of Homeland Security awarded Colorado-based VTO a $928,541 contract for drone forensics research and development. (Press Release)

The U.S. Air Force awarded the University of Arizona a $750,000 grant to build autonomous drones to patrol the U.S. border with Mexico. (Photonics)

The Dallas Safari Club Foundation awarded Delta Waterfowl, a duck hunting organization, a $10,000 grant to use drones to conduct a survey of duck nests. (Grand Forks Herald)

In a statement, Dassault CEO Éric Trappier said that the French-U.K. collaboration on a fighter drone will continue in spite of Brexit and a new Franco-German manned fighter project. (FlightGlobal)

A U.S. military study found that the cost of the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton program has risen by 17 percent. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

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

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 7/24/17

The K5 security robot fell into a fountain in Washington, D.C.

July 17, 2017 – July 23, 2017

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


A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan is reported to have mistakenly killed 15 Afghan soldiers. In a statement, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense reported that the strike hit a security outpost in Helmand province. (Voice of America)

The U.K. Department of Transport is developing regulations that would implement a drone registration program, safety courses for drone owners, and more extensive geo-fencing to keep drones out of restricted areas. According to the BBC, it is not yet clear when the new rules will go into effect.

China announced plans to advance the development of artificial intelligence. The State Council of the People’s Republic of China released a plan to grow AI-related industries into a $59.07 billion sector by 2025. (Reuters)

Canada’s transportation safety agency issued an update to its drone regulations. The update relaxes key provisions for recreational and commercial drone users. (CTV News)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

In testimony before the U.S. Senate, Air Force General Paul Selva argued that autonomous weapons should never be allowed to decide whether or not to take a human life. (Breaking Defense)

In a discussion at the National Governors Association annual meeting, Tesla CEO Elon Musk argued that artificial intelligence is a “fundamental existential risk for human civilization.” (Real Clear Politics)

At Wired, Tom Simonite argues that Musk’s comments are a distraction from the real problems of artificial intelligence.

A report by the Harvard Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs considers how artificial intelligence could revolutionize warfare. (Wired)

At the Wall Street Journal, Jeremy Page and Paul Sonne look at how China is stepping up exports of drones to U.S. allies.

At Scout Warrior, David Hambling looks at how separatists in eastern Ukraine are arming small drones with grenades and other ordnance.

A NASA study found that noise from drones is more irritating to people than noise from cars. (New Scientist)

At Popular Mechanics, Eric Tegler looks at how the U.S. Air Force is testing equipment intended for the Reaper drone on a World War II-era Douglas DC-3.

At War on the Rocks, Gregory C. Allen considers how animals in nature inspire the design of military robots.

Also at War on the Rocks, Scott Cuomo argues that the Marine Corps needs a persistent aerial surveillance and strike drone like the MQ-9 Reaper.

At the Intercept, Robert Trafford and Nick Turse write that Cameroonian forces used a drone base to torture suspected members of Boko Haram.

CNN looks at how Agadez, a city in northern Niger where the U.S. is building a drone base, is an unstable “tinderbox.”

At the Motley Fool, Rich Smith offers suggestions on drone manufacturers to invest in.

Know Your Drone

Researchers at MIT are developing small power-efficient computer chips that could be used to build highly autonomous micro-drones. (The Drive)

An Australian student has developed a drone that is capable of flying for longer and at much higher speeds than other consumer systems. (ABC News)

Airbus Defense and Space conducted a test flight of a subscale model of the Sagitta stealth drone that it is developing with a group of German research institutes. (Aviation Week)

A team at the Singapore University of Technology & Design has developed a vertical take-off drone that transitions to horizontal flight by turning its rotors into wings. (The Verge)

A team at Stanford University is developing a wormlike robot that can move by expanding in size. (Science Robotics)

The Chinese military is developing what appears to be an 8×8 unmanned supply truck. (IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly)

Russian defense firm Kronstadt unveiled the concept for its Orion-E, a military drone that will be about the size of the MQ-1 Predator. (FlightGlobal)

Meanwhile, Russian Helicopters unveiled the VRT3000, a co-axial rotor reconnaissance helicopter drone. (Shephard Media)

Estonian firm Threod Systems is developing a new variant of its Stream tactical military drone. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

Researchers at MIT have developed a small robot that can swim through water pipes searching for leaks. (Dezeen)

YouTube channel Make it Extreme published a video showing how one can build a DIY counter-drone net gun. (Popular Mechanics)

Estonian Startup Marduk Technologies plans to begin testing its Shark counter-drone system with the Estonian military in August or September. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

The U.S. Navy issued a draft Request for Proposals detailing some of the characteristics of its planned MQ-25A Stingray refueling drone. (USNI News)

Israeli firm GPSdome has developed a jam-resistant GPS system for drones. (C4ISRNET)

Ukraine-based defense firm Infocom revealed new details about its Laska armed unmanned ground vehicle. (IHS Jane’s International Defence Review)

Drones at Work

Singapore has offered the Philippines drones and other military equipment for operations against Islamist militant groups. (Reuters)

Police departments in Dorset, Cornwall, and Devon in the U.K. have been using drones to track reckless motorcyclists. (The Drive)

The town of Deadwood in South Dakota has approved an ordinance restricting the use of drones in the city. (Black Hills Pioneer)

Investigators have concluded that a mid-air collision in Australia that was thought to have been caused by a drone was actually caused by a bat. (ABC News)

In a test, the U.S. Navy used its Laser Weapon System to shoot down a drone. (CNN)

A remotely operated robot exploring the interior of Fukushima’s reactor 3 appears to have discovered objects that could be fuel debris. (Japan Times)

The U.S. Air Force has established a program to teach coalition forces how to react to adversary drones on the battlefield. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

A drone flying near the scene of a car crash in Avonport, Canada delayed the departure of a helicopter that was airlifting a patient to hospital. (CBC)

The police department of Harvey County, Kansas found a missing 91-year-old man by using a drone. (KWCH)

Canada’s OEX Recovery group will use a Kraken unmanned undersea vehicle to search for the remains of several subscale prototype jets that crashed into Lake Ontario in the 1950s. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

The U.S. Navy Special Warfare Command is testing a vehicle-mounted SkySafe counter-drone system. (GCN)

LG Electronics has begun a live trial of a series of cleaning and guide robots at Incheon International Airport in South Korea. (ZDNet)

Meanwhile, a Knightscope security robot fell into a fountain while patrolling an office building in Washington, D.C. (CNN)

A drone crashed while racing a Formula E electric race car during an event in Brooklyn. (The Drive)

Industry Intel

Counter-drone company SkySafe raised $11.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. (TechCrunch)

The U.S. Navy awarded Hydroid a $27.3 million contract modification for the Mk 18 Kingfish family of unmanned undersea vehicles. (DoD)

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded General Dynamics Mission Systems a $29,610 contract for an unmanned underwater vehicle. (FBO)

The U.S. Air Force awarded Engility Corporation a contract for “autonomous collaborative vehicle research and development.” (FBO)

The U.S. Navy awarded Insitu a $39,810 contract for software for the RQ-21A reconnaissance drone. (FBO)

The U.S. Army awarded Leonardo DRS and Moog a $16 million contract to develop a vehicle-mounted counter-drone system. (UPI)

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems a $3.9 million contract for UAS operational support and maintenance. (USASpending)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems a $4.6 million contract under the Mobile Offboard Clandestine Communications Approach program. (USNI News)

Georgia’s Innovation Fund Tiny Grant program awarded the Long Cane Middle School an $8,000 grant to develop a curriculum on drones. (The Journal)

U.S. drone firm Measure will offer new inspection services to the solar energy industry. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Propeller Aero will begin distributing Trimble’s Connected Site, a platform for analysis data from drones. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Solent Local Enterprise Partnership awarded BAE Systems a $593,871 grant to design a testing site for autonomous systems in the U.K. (Inside Unmanned Systems)

The U.K.’s Ministry of Defense awarded Inzpire Limited a contract to help train pilots of the new General Atomics Protector drone. (Inzpire)

Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industries announced that it will begin marketing the Hamaseh surveillance and strike drone to international customers. (FlightGlobal)

Israel Aerospace Industries will offer India an agreement to produce the Heron TP domestically. (FlightGlobal)

Israeli drone company Aeronautics will acquire an unnamed U.S. firm for $6 million. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

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

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 7/17/17

The South Korean Navy conducted shipboard flight tests for the TR-60 tilt-rotor UAV. Source: KARI

July 10, 2017 – July 16, 2017

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


A U.S. drone strike in Afghanistan killed Abu Sayed, the leader of the local ISIS cell. In a statement, a Pentagon spokesperson said that the strike targeted the ISIS headquarters in Kunar Province. Abu Sayed’s predecessor, Abdul Hasib, was killed in a special forces raid in April. (New York Times)

A Turkish drone strike in Anatolia reportedly killed five suspected members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. It was the first strike carried out with the Anka-S, a new Turkish surveillance and strike drone. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

Portugal will implement a new law regulating drone operations after a recent spike in reports of close encounters between drones and manned aircraft. Drone users will be required to register and purchase insurance. Speaking with members of a parliamentary committee, Infrastructure Minister Pedro Marques said that he hopes the law will be in place by the end of the month. (Associated Press)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At The Digital Circuit, Scott Simmie looks at how hackers are selling kits to disable the geofencing in drones made by DJI.

At the Hill, Paul Scharre argues that the U.S. should start treating drone exports the same way it treats exports of manned aircraft.

At Popular Mechanics, David Hambling looks at the technology underpinning a U.S. drone designed for research missions in the Arctic.

At War on the Rocks, Ben Brewster argues that the U.S. Marine Corps needs a long-endurance surveillance and strike drone like the Reaper or Gray Eagle.

In a speech in Washington, Gen. Mike Holmes argued that the U.S. Air Force needs greater authority to protect its facilities and aircraft against drones. (FlightGlobal)

London’s Gatwick Airport released a video showing how a drone can interrupt air traffic around an airport. (Motherboard)

At Truthout, Alex Edney-Browne looks at how on-the-ground research can shed more light on the effects of U.S. drone strikes.

At Vertical Magazine, Oliver Johnson looks at how a Canadian company is using drones to help fight wildfires.

At CBC, Dean Beeby writes that Transport Canada’s Arctic drone program was delayed because of international arms control regulations.

At Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton looks at how Amazon’s drone hub concepts pose big challenges for urban planners.

A drone video captured the extent of the destruction of Mosul, Iraq. (Associated Press)

Know Your Drone

A team of universities, research institutes, and broadcasters is looking to develop swarms of three to five video drones that can be used to film large sporting events. (Horizon)

Serbia’s Military Technical Institute has unveiled a prototype unmanned ground vehicle that is armed with a machine gun and a grenade launcher. (IHS Jane’s 360)

The Korea Aerospace Research Institute conducted flight trials of its TR-60 tiltrotor drone from a moving ship. (IHS Jane’s 360)

NASA has developed onboard software for drones called Safeguard that forces them to land if they come too close to a no-fly zone. (Wired)

Walmart has announced that it will conduct tests for its delivery drone program at an airport in Upstate New York. (New York Upstate)

Drone maker AirDog unveiled the ADII, a multirotor consumer drone optimized to record sports events and other outdoor activities. (The Drive)

In a test, a team at Johns Hopkins University successfully transported a medical sample under temperature control over 160 miles by drone. (SUAS News)

A consortium of three European countries is looking to develop an unmanned ship for use in the oil and gas sector. (Construction.Ru)

Israeli company Flytrex is seeking to use sophisticated air traffic management software to enable drone deliveries. (The Drive)

A Florida-based company has developed a simulated IED-equipped drone for training soldiers. (C4ISRNET)

CASC conducted a flight test of the new CH-5 Rainbow drone at an airport in northeast China. (East Pendulum)

Drones at Work

Drone maker Flyability announced that its collision-resistant Elios drone has been used to inspect the interior of a nuclear reactor building. (Press Release)

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is investigating a possible collision between a drone and a light aircraft near Adelaide. Nobody was injured in the incident. (ABC) For more on Close Encounters, click here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Air Force is looking to obtain authority to shoot down small drones over its facilities after a recent close encounter between a F-22 Raptor jet and a drone. (Aviation Week)

Researchers in Boulder, Colorado used drones to survey damage caused to local trees by invasive green jewel beetles. (Daily Camera)

South Korea is looking to deploy a new system to detect North Korean surveillance drones that fly into its territory. (UPI)

A Drone Racing League RacerX quadcopter drone set a new record for the fastest civilian drone, hitting a top speed of 179.3 mph. (CNET)

Researchers at Northwestern University are developing small ground robots equipped with whiskers that allow them to precisely detect their surroundings. (Wired)

Police in Devon, Cornwall, and Dorset in England are launching the country’s first police unit dedicated to using drones. (AP)

Singapore’s upcoming National Day Parade will feature a light show of 300 drones. (The Straits Times)

Police in DeSoto County, Mississippi used a drone to help investigators search for debris from a recent military plane crash in the area. (Fox13)

North Dakota authorities dismissed criminal charges against a man who was accused of using a drone to stalk a group of private security workers at the Dakota Access Pipeline protests last year. (Bismarck Tribune)

The British Army will no longer use the Black Hornet, a micro drone made by Norway’s Prox Dynamics. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Office of Naval Research awarded Embry-Riddle University a $900,000 grant to develop advanced communication systems for unmanned surface vehicles. (Press Release)

The National Science Foundation awarded Bakman Technologies a grant to develop a sensor for a drone to monitor emissions that contribute to global warming. (Drone Life)

Colorado’s El Paso County awarded Sanborn Map Company a multi-year contract to provide drones for a variety of missions, including disaster response and construction site monitoring. (Press Release)

The U.S. Coast Guard awarded Riptide Autonomous Solutions a $69,374 contract for an unmanned underwater vehicle. (FBO)

The French Navy awarded ECA Group a contract for unmanned undersea vehicles for mine detection and disposal. (Press Release)  

Germany’s Bundeswehr awarded EMT a $71 million contract for three LUNA NG systems. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

Thales is reportedly marketing the Watchkeeper surveillance drone to the Indonesian Air Force. (IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly)

The U.S. Department of Defense awarded Autonomous Solutions a contract to apply machine learning and artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles operating in challenging environments. (Press Release)

CybAero Ab, a Swedish company that makes rotary drones, signed a debt-refinancing deal with Bracknor, a Dubai-based investment firm. (DefenseNews)

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


The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 7/10/17

The U.S. Army is developing a drone that moves like a flying squirrel. Credit: David McNally/U.S. Army


A U.S. drone strike in Somalia targeted members of al-Shabab. It is the second drone strike in Somalia since President Trump relaxed rules for targeting members of the al-Qaeda-allied group. (New York Times)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is offering refunds to drone hobbyists who paid the $5 fee to register with the agency. The move follows a federal court ruling in May that found that the FAA could not compel recreational drone users to register. The FAA has collected over $4 million in fees since it implemented the registration policy in December 2015. (Recode)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At the Washington Post, Greg Jaffe profiles U.S. Air Force analysts who examine video imagery from drones.

In a report published by the Mitchell Institute, Gen. David Deptula argues that the U.S. Department of Defense should create an office for unmanned aircraft to coordinate efforts across the different services. (Breaking Defense)

In Drone Warrior, Brett Velicovich and Christopher S. Stewart offer an insider’s account of running U.S. targeted killing operations. (Wired)

At Lawfare, Kenneth Anderson and Matthew Waxman present a primer on the legal and ethical debates over autonomous weapons.

At the Jamestown Foundation, Elsa Kania writes that the China is seeking to leverage recent advances in swarming drones to bolster its military.

This month’s Signal magazine includes several articles on drones and robots. (AFCEA)

At Breaking Defense, Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. looks at how the lack of trust between humans and unmanned systems will inhibit the integration of robots in the future.

At the Morning Consult, Edward Graham writes that recent legislation in Congress would enable localities to have a greater say in drone regulations.

At TechCrunch, Helen Greiner discusses how robots and drones have taken on more and more roles.

At Poynter, Melody Kramer considers how recent aerial images of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on an empty beach demonstrate how drones are becoming effective newsgathering tools.

At Drone360, Lauren Sigfusson looks at how the FAA’s Part 107 waiver and authorization process has changed in recent weeks.

At Arkansas Matters, Chris Pulliam says that crop dusters are concerned about the potential threats posed to their aircraft by drones.

At DefenseNews, Burak Ege Bekdil writes that Turkey is increasingly relying on drones for border security, counterterrorism, and operations against Kurdish groups.  

At the National Interest, Samuel Bendett considers whether Russia will ever be able to catch up with the U.S. and Israel in terms of drone development.

In a letter to the editor of the Pocono Record, Pete Sauvigne argues that a local model aircraft club should not be stripped of its permission to fly in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.

At The Drive, Marco Margaritoff looks at a few of National Geographic’s best drone photos of year to date. Know Your Drone

The U.S. Army is developing a drone that moves like a flying squirrel. (Popular Mechanics)

Meanwhile, the Army is developing a system that allows a single human operator to control multiple drones. (Press Release)

Defense firm Rafael has added a laser interceptor to its Drone Dome counter-drone system. (IHS Jane’s 360)

Italian firm Piaggio has resumed flight testing of its HammerHead military drone a year after the program was grounded due to a crash. (AIN Online)

Israeli defense firm Elbit has demonstrated its Seagull unmanned surface vehicle in an end-to-end mine countermeasures mission. (IHS Jane’s 360)

A group of researchers in Florida is developing an underwater drone that seeks out and collects lionfish, an invasive species in the area. (Pensacola News Journal)

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley are developing a jumping one-legged robot that could eventually be used for search and rescue. (Wired)

The U.S. Coast Guard will begin evaluating different small drones with the goal of acquiring a system in 2018. (C4ISRNet)

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Coast Guard is looking to equip its offshore patrol vessels with aerial surveillance drones by 2020. (IHS Jane’s 360)

The Netherlands Aerospace Centre is testing a small jet-powered fixed-wing drone. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Hot dog company Oscar Mayer revealed the newest addition to its WienerFleet, the WienerDrone, a hot dog delivery drone. (Fortune)

Drones at Work

An inmate who broke out of a South Carolina prison reportedly escaped using tools delivered to him by a drone. (The New York Times)

The Russian Navy is reportedly displeased with the performance of its Inspector Mk2 unmanned surface vehicle developed by French firm ECA Group. (Mil.Today)

Officials in Kaziranga National Park in India are using drones to monitor wildlife displaced by recent floods in the area. (Hindustan Times)

The Redondo Beach Police Department in California used a drone to conduct aerial surveillance during the local Independence Day celebrations. (Easy Reader News)

Meanwhile, Police in Nashville, Tennessee arrested a man for flying a drone over a large crowd during a Fourth of July celebration. (Fox 17)

The French Air Force flew one of its MQ-9 Reaper drones in civilian domestic airspace for the first time. (Aviation Analysis Wing)

Ohio has passed a law that permits ground delivery robots to operate on sidewalks. It is the fifth U.S. state to pass such a law. (Recode)

Florida governor Rick Scott signed a bill that establishes statewide regulations for drone use. (Flying Magazine)

A volunteer rescue group in Italy is using drones to look for signs of possible impending rock slides before they happen. (Motherboard)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Army awarded Assist Consultants a $18.1 million contract to build a facility for the Navy’s MQ-4C Triton at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. (FBO)

The Department of Justice awarded AARDVARK a $51,247 contract for backpackable robots. (FBO)

Germany’s Bayer CropScience awarded SlantRange, a U.S. company that makes sensors for drones, a contract to collect data on crop breeding and research programs. (

Australia’s new Defense Cooperative Research Center will award $50 million in grants to develop autonomous capabilities for military unmanned systems. (Press Release)

The European Union selected Sensofusion, a Finnish company, to help develop a counter-drone security system. (Press Release)

Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris has contracted Aveillant to install a counter-drone system called Gamekeeper. (FlightGlobal)

Germany is pausing plans to acquire the Israel Aerospace Industries Heron military drone until after its upcoming election. (DefenseNews)

IAI has agreed to transfer drone technology to India’s Dynamatic Technologies and Elcom Systems. (IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly)

Meanwhile, Indonesia and Turkey agreed to cooperate on the development of military systems and technologies, including drones. (IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly)

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions stock prices lifted 11 percent in June, due in part to news of a sale of attritable unmanned aircraft. (Motley Fool)

The Israeli military awarded Duke Robotics, a Florida-based startup, a contract for the TIKAD, a quadrotor drone that can be armed with a machine gun or grenade launcher. (Defense One)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter. The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world. You can subscribe to the Roundup here.


The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 7/3/17

The OR-3 autonomous security robot will begin patrolling parts of Dubai. Credit: Otsaw Digital

At the Center for the Study of the Drone

In a podcast at The Drone Radio Show, Arthur Holland Michel discusses the Center for the Study of the Drone’s recent research on local drone regulations, public safety drones, and legal incidents involving unmanned aircraft.

In a series of podcasts at the Center for a New American Security, Dan Gettinger discusses trends in drone proliferation and the U.S. policy on drone exports.


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit dismissed a lawsuit over the death of several civilians from a U.S. drone strike in Yemen, concurring with the decision of a lower court. In the decision, Judge Janice Rogers Brown argued that Congress had nevertheless failed in its oversight of the U.S. military. (The Hill)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist, Michael Horowitz argues that the Missile Technology Control Regime is poorly suited to manage international drone proliferation.

At War on the Rocks, Joe Chapa argues that debates over the ethics of drone strikes are often clouded by misconceptions.

At, Julien Girault writes that Chinese drone maker DJI is looking at how its consumer drones can be applied to farming.

At IHS Jane’s Navy International, Anika Torruella looks at how the U.S. Navy is investing in unmanned and autonomous technologies.

Also at IHS Jane’s, Anika Torruella writes that the U.S. Navy does not plan to include large unmanned undersea vehicles as part of its 355-ship fleet goal.

At Defense One, Brett Velicovich looks at how consumer drones can easily be altered to carry a weapons payload.

At Aviation Week, James Drew considers how U.S. drone firm General Atomics is working to develop the next generation of drones.

At Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton looks at how legislation in California could prohibit drone-on-drone cage fights.

At the Charlotte Observer, Robin Hayes argues that Congress should not grant Amazon blanket permission to fly delivery drones.

At the MIT Technology Review, Bruce Y. Lee argues that though medicine-carrying drones may be expensive, they will save lives.

In a speech at the SMi Future Armoured Vehicles Weapon Systems conference in London, U.S. Marine Corps Colonel Jim Jenkins discussed the service’s desire to use small, cheap autonomous drones on the battlefield. (IHS Jane’s 360)

At the Conversation, Andres Guadamuz considers whether the works of robot artists should be protected by copyright.

Know Your Drone

A team at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has built a multirotor drone that is also capable of driving around on wheels like a ground robot. (CNET)

Facebook conducted a test flight of its Aquila solar-powered Internet drone. (Fortune)

Meanwhile, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation conducted a 15-hour test flight of its Cai Hong solar-powered drone at an altitude of over 65,000 feet. (IHS Jane’s 360)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency successfully tested autonomous quadcopters that were able to navigate a complex obstacle course without GPS. (Press Release)

French firm ECA group is modifying its IT180 helicopter drone for naval operations. (Press Release)

Italian firm Leonardo plans to debut its SD-150 rotary-wing military drone in the third quarter of 2017. (IHS Jane’s 360)

Researchers at MIT are developing a drone capable of remaining airborne for up to five days at a time. (TechCrunch)

Drones at Work

The government of Malawi and  humanitarian agency Unicef have launched an air corridor to test drones for emergency response and medical deliveries. (BBC)

French police have begun using drones to search for migrants crossing the border with Italy. (The Telegraph)

Researchers from Missouri University have been testing drones to conduct inspections of water towers. (Missourian)

An Australian drug syndicate reportedly used aerial drones to run counter-surveillance on law enforcement officers during a failed bid to import cocaine into Melbourne. (BBC)

In a simulated exercise in New Jersey, first responders used a drone to provide temporary cell coverage to teams on the ground. (AUVSI)

The International Olympic Committee has announced that chipmaker Intel will provide drones for light shows at future Olympic games. (CNN)

The U.S. Air Force has performed its first combat mission with the new Block 5 variant of the MQ-9 Reaper. (UPI)

The police department in West Seneca, New York has acquired a drone. (WKBW)

Chinese logistics firm SF Express has obtained approval from the Chinese government to operate delivery drones over five towns in Eastern China. (GBTimes)

Portugal’s Air Traffic Accident Prevention and Investigation Office is leading an investigation into a number of close encounters between drones and manned aircraft in the country’s airspace. (AIN Online)

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and app company AirMap are developing a system that will automate low-altitude drone operation authorizations. (Drone360)

Police in Arizona arrested a man for allegedly flying a drone over a wildfire. (Associated Press)

Dubai’s police will deploy the Otsaw Digital O-R3, an autonomous security robot equipped with facial recognition software and a built-in drone, to patrol difficult-to-reach areas. (Washington Post)

The University of Southampton writes that Boaty McBoatface, an unmanned undersea vehicle, captured “unprecedented data” during its voyage to the Orkney Passage.

Five flights were diverted from Gatwick Airport when a drone was spotted flying nearby. (BBC)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Special Operations Command awarded Arcturus UAV a contract to compete in the selection of the Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft System. AAI Corp. and Insitu are also competing. (DoD)

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical a $27.6 million contract for the MQ-9 Gen 4 Predator primary datalink. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded AAI Corp. a $12 million contract modification for the Shadow v2 release 6 system baseline update. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded DBISP a $73,392 contract for 150 quadrotor drones made by DJI and other manufacturers. (FBO)

The Department of the Interior awarded NAYINTY3 a $7,742 contract for the Agisoft Photo Scan, computer software designed to process images from drones. (FBO)

The Federal Aviation Administration awarded Computer Sciences Corporation a $200,000 contract for work on drone registration. (USASpending)

The U.S. Navy awarded Hensel Phelps a $36 million contract to build a hangar for the MQ-4C Triton surveillance drone at Naval Station Mayport in Florida. (First Coast News)

The U.S. Navy awarded Kratos Defense & Security Solutions a $35 million contract for the BQM-177A target drones. (

NATO awarded Leonardo a contract for logistic and support services for the Alliance Ground Surveillance system. (Shephard Media)

Clobotics, a Shanghai-based startup that develops artificial intelligence-equipped drones for infrastructure inspection, announced that it has raised $5 million in seed funding. (GeekWire)

AeroVironment’s stock fell despite a $124.4 million surge in revenue in its fiscal fourth quarter. (Motley Fool)

Ford is creating the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Research team to study emerging technologies. (Ford Motor Company)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter. The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world. You can subscribe to the Roundup here.

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 6/24/17

Amazon’s “beehive” concept for future multi-storey fulfillment centers. Credit: Amazon

June 19, 2017 – June 25, 2017

At the Center for the Study of the Drone

In an interview with Robotics Tomorrow, Center for the Study of the Drone Co-Director Arthur Holland Michel discusses the growing use of drones by law enforcement and describes future trends in unmanned systems technology.


The U.S. State Department is set to approve the sale of 22 MQ-9B Guardian drones to India, according to Defense News. The sale is expected to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States. The Guardian is an unarmed variant of the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Predator B. If the deal is approved and finalized, India would be the fifth country besides the U.S. and first non-NATO member to operate the MQ-9.

The United States shot down another armed Iranian drone in Syria. A U.S. F-15 fighter jet intercepted the Shahed-129 drone near the town of Tanf, where the U.S.-led coalition is training Syrian rebel forces. The shootdown comes just days after the U.S. downed another Shahed-129 on June 8, as well as a Syrian SU-22 manned fighter jet on June 18. (Los Angeles Times)

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the Pakistani air force shot down an Iranian drone. According to Nafees Zakaria, the unarmed surveillance drone was downed 2.5 miles inside Pakistani territory in the southwest Baluchistan province. (Associated Press)

A U.S. Air Force RQ-4 Global Hawk drone crashed in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. The RQ-4 is a high-altitude long-endurance surveillance drone. (KTLA5)

The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate introduced bills to reauthorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration. Both bills include language on drones. The Senate bill would require all drone operators to pass an aeronautical knowledge test and would authorize the FAA to require that drone operators be registered. (Law360)

President Trump spoke with the CEOs of drone companies at the White House as part of a week focused on emerging technologies. Participants discussed a number of topics, including state and local drone laws and drone identification and tracking technologies. (TechCrunch)

The Pentagon will begin offering an award for remote weapons strikes to Air Force personnel in a variety of career fields, including cyber and space. The “R” device award was created in 2016 to recognize drone operators. (

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has formed a committee to study electronic drone identification methods and technologies. The new committee is comprised of representatives from industry, government, and law enforcement. (Press Release)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At MarketWatch, Sally French writes that in the meeting at the White House, some CEOs of drone companies argued for more, not fewer, drone regulations. (MarketWatch)

At Air & Space Magazine, James R. Chiles writes that the crowded airspace above Syria could lead to the first drone-on-drone air war.

At Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton looks at how fighter jets of the future will be accompanied by swarms of low-cost armed drones.  

At Drone360, Leah Froats breaks down the different drone bills that have recently been introduced in Congress.

At Motherboard, Ben Sullivan writes that drone pilots are “buying Russian software to hack their way past DJI’s no fly zones.”

At Bloomberg Technology, Thomas Black writes that the future of drone delivery hinges on precise weather predictions.

At Aviation Week, James Drew writes that U.S. lawmakers are encouraging the Air Force to conduct a review of the different MQ-9 Reaper models that it plans to purchase.  

Also at Aviation Week, Tony Osborne writes that studies show that European governments are advancing the implementation of drone regulations.

At The Atlantic, Marina Koren looks at how artificial intelligence helps the Curiosity rover navigate the surface of Mars without any human input.

At, Renee Cho considers how drones are helping advance scientific research.

At Ozy, Zara Stone writes that drones are helping to accelerate the time it takes to complete industrial painting jobs.

At the European Council on Foreign Relations, Ulrike Franke argues that instead of following the U.S. example, Europe should develop its own approach to acquiring military drones.

At the New York Times, Frank Bures looks at how a U.S. drone pilot is helping give the New Zealand team an edge in the America’s Cup.

At Cinema5D, Jakub Han examines how U.S. drone pilot Robert Mcintosh created an intricate single-shot fly-through video in Los Angeles.

Know Your Drone

Amazon has filed a patent for multi-storey urban fulfilment centers for its proposed drone delivery program. (CNN)

Airbus Helicopters has begun autonomous flight trials of its VSR700 optionally piloted helicopter demonstrator. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Italian defense firm Leonardo unveiled the M-40, a target drone that can mimic the signatures of a number of aircraft types. (FlightGlobal)

Defense firm Textron Systems unveiled the Nightwarden, a new variant of its Shadow tactical surveillance and reconnaissance drone. (New Atlas)

Israeli defense firm Elbit Systems unveiled the SkEye, a wide-area persistent surveillance sensor that can be used aboard drones. (IHS Jane’s 360)

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a WiFi-based  system that allows drones to see through solid walls. (TechCrunch)

Israeli drone maker Aeronautics unveiled the Pegasus 120, a multirotor drone designed for a variety of roles. (IHS Jane’s 360)  

U.S. firm Raytheon has developed a new variant of its Coyote, a tube-launched aerial data collection drone. (AIN Online)

Drone maker Boeing Insitu announced that it has integrated a 50-megapixel photogrammetric camera into a variant of its ScanEagle fixed-wing drone. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Telecommunications giant AT&T is seeking to develop a system to mount drones on ground vehicles. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

U.S. defense contractor Northrop Grumman demonstrated an unmanned surface vehicle in a mine-hunting exercise in Belgium. (AUVSI)

Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled a new radar and laser-based counter-drone system called Drone Dome. (UPI)

French firm Reflet du Monde unveiled the RDM One, a small drone that can be flown at ranges of up to 300 kilometers thanks to a satellite link. (Defense News)

RE2 Robotics is helping the U.S. Air Force build robots that can take the controls of traditionally manned aircraft. (TechCrunch)

The U.S. Marine Corps is set to begin using its Nibbler 3D-printed drone in active combat zones in the coming weeks. (3D Printing Industry)

U.S. drone maker General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has completed a design review for its Advanced Cockpit Block 50 Ground Control Station for U.S. Air Force drones. (UPI)

Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center are developing systems for small drones that allows them to determine on their own if they are suffering from mechanical issues and find a place to land safely. (Wired)

The inventor of the Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner has unveiled an unmanned ground vehicle that autonomously finds and removes weeds from your garden. (Business Insider)

Drones at Work

A group of public safety agencies in Larimer County, Colorado have unveiled a regional drone program. (The Coloradoan)

Five marijuana growing operations in California will begin using unmanned ground vehicles for security patrols. (NBC Los Angeles)

The Fargo Fire Department in North Dakota has acquired a drone for a range of operations. (KFGO)

The Rochester Police Department in Minnesota has acquired a drone for monitoring patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other disorders. (Associated Press)

Drone maker Parrot and software firm Pix4D have selected six researchers using drones to study the impacts of climate change as the winners of an innovation grant. (Unmanned Aerial Online)

The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Flagstaff Police Department used an unmanned ground vehicle to enter the home of a man who had barricaded himself in a standoff. (AZ Central)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Special Operations Command awarded Boeing Insitu and Textron Systems contracts to compete for the Mid-Endurance Unmanned Aircraft Systems III drone program. (AIN Online)

The U.S. Navy awarded ArĂŞte Associates a $8.5 million contract for the AN/DVS-1 COBRA, a payload on the MQ-8 Fire Scout. (DoD)

The U.S. Army awarded Raytheon a $2.93 million contract for Kinetic Drone Defense. (FBO)

The Spanish Defense Ministry selected the AUDS counter-drone system for immediate deployments. The contract is estimated to be worth $2.24 million. (GSN Magazine)

The European Maritime Safety Agency selected the UMS Skeldar for border control, search and rescue, pollution monitoring, and other missions. (FlightGlobal)

The Belgian Navy awarded SeeByte, a company that creates software for unmanned maritime systems, a contract for the SeeTrack software system for its autonomous undersea vehicles. (Marine Technology News)

A new company established by the Turkish government will build engines for the armed Anka drone. (DefenseNews)

Italian defense firm Leonardo is seeking to market its Falco UAV for commercial applications. (Shephard Media)  

Thales Alenia Space will acquire a minority stake in Airstar Aerospace, which it hopes will help it achieve its goal of developing an autonomous, high-altitude airship. (Intelligent Aerospace)

The Idaho STEM Action Center awarded 22 schools and libraries in Idaho $147,000 to purchase drones. (East Idaho News)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter. The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world. You can subscribe to the Roundup here.

The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 6/19/17

The Missile Defense Agency is seeking a high-altitude unmanned aircraft that can be equipped with a high-energy laser. Credit: MDA

June 12, 2017 – June 18, 2017


A U.S. drone strike in Yemen reportedly killed two individuals suspected of being members of al-Qaeda. The strike targeted a vehicle in Shabwa province, one of several strongholds of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. (Reuters)

The European Union released draft regulations for consumer and commercial drones. The blueprint was assembled by the Single European Sky Air traffic management Research Joint Undertaking, a body set up by the European Commission to study low-altitude drone operations. The EU plans to implement drone regulations by 2019. (Press Release)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

A report by the Center for a New American Security explores possible policies designed to manage military drone proliferation.

A report by the Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies evaluates the U.S. government’s transparency on drone strikes between 2002 and 2017.

At Fast Company, Steven Melendez considers how the next generation of military drones and autonomous systems could change warfare.

At the National Interest, David Axe writes that the U.S. Air Force is planning to invest more in disposable strike drones than large complex systems.

Also at the National Interest, Dan Goure looks at how U.S. companies are focusing on ending the threat posed by rogue drone use.

At the Washington Post, Thomas Gibbons-Neff writes that U.S. officials are concerned about the ability of ISIS drones to disrupt U.S. operations.

At Lawfare, Rebecca Crootof and Frauke Renz argue that the conversation surrounding lethal autonomous weapons should seek alternative regulatory strategies beyond an outright ban.

At TechCrunch, Brian Heater looks at how RE2 Robotics is making robot control mechanisms more intuitive.

At, Will Yakowicz writes that Saildrone, a California-based startup, aims to deploy more unmanned sailboats to measure climate change than all of the satellites in space.

A study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm found that defibrillator-carrying drones could cut response times for cardiac arrests by 16 minutes. (The Guardian)

An essay at the Economist explores how consumer drones are being put to work for commercial applications.  

At, Patrick Meier looks at how flying robots could be used to combat the spread of Zika.

At the University of Toronto, students and faculty discuss the opportunities presented by the development of advanced autonomy for consumer drones.

At KSHB, Belinda Post writes that drones are a popular father’s day gift this year.

At AIN Online, Vladimir Karnozov considers the history of Iranian-Russian collaboration on the development of new drones.

Know Your Drone

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is looking to acquire a high-altitude long-endurance drone that can carry a high-energy laser to intercept intercontinental ballistic missiles. (IHS Jane’s 360)

Drone maker RaptorUAS has unveiled the Raptor EV, a vertical takeoff and landing fixed-wing drone. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

U.S. drone maker Kratos is unveiling its two new low-cost combat drones, the XQ-222 Valkyrie and the UTAP-22 Mako. (New Atlas)

The U.S. Air Force is conducting a study to estimate the service life of its MQ-9 Reaper drones. (Defense Daily)

Airbus Defence and Space will conduct test flights of its Zephyr high-altitude long-endurance drone in Australia next year. (Shephard Media)

U.K. firm Horizon Technologies is looking to mount a satellite phone monitoring sensor on small drones. (IHS Jane’s 360)

Researchers at Nvidia are developing drone navigation systems that rely on computer vision rather than GPS signals. (The Drive)

Amazon has been awarded two patents for its delivery drone system: one for foldable rotor arms and the other for a winch system to lower packages from the drone to the ground. (GeekWire)

Drones at Work

South Korean officials said that a North Korean drone that crashed in the country had taken 10 photographs of a sensitive U.S. missile defense site. (The Washington Post)

A search and rescue team in Colorado used a newly acquired drone to search for a group of missing hikers. (CBS4)

General Electric has begun a program to test drones and unmanned ground vehicles to inspect industrial facilities and infrastructure. (Reuters)

The Croatian Defense Ministry is planning to acquire drones and set up an unmanned aircraft squadron. (Defense News)

Drone Delivery Canada conducted the first beyond visual line of sight delivery test flights in Canada, flying a drone in Alberta from a control center 2,500 kilometers away in Toronto. (AUVSI)

Documents released by the U.S. Department of Justice show that there have been more than a dozen attempts to smuggle contraband into federal prisons using drones in the past five years. (USA Today)

Firefighters in London used a drone to assist in the response to the Grenfell Tower fire. (Newsweek)

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating reports of illegal drone operations in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Charlotte Observer)

The California National Guard has relocated its fleet of MQ-9 Reaper drones from Victorville to the March Air Reserve Base. (Aviation Week)  

Security officials used a Dedrone counter-drone system at the Golden State Warriors’ basketball team’s championship parade in Oakland, California. (Recode)

Massachusetts police used drones for security during the Sail Boston boating event. (Boston Globe)

The Middlesex County prosecutor’s office in New Jersey bought a drone for criminal investigations. (TAP into Piscataway)

The Israeli air force is developing a 15-year roadmap for its fleet of unmanned aircraft. (FlightGlobal)

Police are searching for a drone operator who flew a drone close to air tankers and helicopters assisting in the response to a California brush fire. (10News)

The U.S. Navy picked the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and USS George H.W. Bush as the first two aircraft carriers to deploy the MQ-25 Stingray unmanned refueler drone. (USNI News)

Industry Intel

The U.S. Navy awarded Boeing Insitu an $8 million contract for one RQ-21A Blackjack unmanned aircraft system for the Marine Corps. (DoD)

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Raytheon a $5.2 million contract for the Aerial Dragnet program.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Embry-Riddle and Creare a $1 million grant to develop an autonomous flight control system for drones. (Press Release)

The Drone Racing League raised $20 million in grants from Allianz and Sky. (The Telegraph)

Kraken is partnering with Atlas Elektronik to develop a system for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Remote Mine Disposal System requirement. (IHS Jane’s 360)

Laura Ponto, an executive at Alphabet’s Project Wing, is the new chairman of the Commercial Drone Alliance, an industry advocacy organization. (Recode)

Israel’s Aeronautics, a drone manufacturer, has made an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. (IHS Jane’s 360)

For updates, news, and commentary, follow us on Twitter. The Weekly Drone Roundup is a newsletter from the Center for the Study of the Drone. It covers news, commentary, analysis and technology from the drone world. You can subscribe to the Roundup here.


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