As growing numbers of countries around the world acquire and deploy military drones, the task of tracking where they are based and how they are being used becomes more difficult, but also more important than ever. In a dynamic page on our site, we will post updates on new developments in drone deployments and bases around the world. Our first installments explore new construction projects at a U.S. drone base in Djibouti and Chinese drones in Inner Mongolia.
Earlier this month, hundreds of drones descended upon New York’s Governors Island for the second annual U.S. National Drone Racing Championships. In recent months numerous such events have been held everywhere from Dubai to Korea. This new action-packed sport is attracting investors, top-tier advertisers, and fans in dozens of countries. But how does it work, and what is in its future? Here’s what you need to know.
At Stars and Stripes, Dianna Cahn profiles the U.S. Navy’s 132-foot-long Sea Hunter unmanned ship, saying: “At 132 feet long, the Sea Hunter is a prototype of the largest unmanned ship in the world and Navy officials are now looking at the sea drone’s potential to revolutionize fleet operations.”
The Federal Aviation Administration announced that it is forming an unmanned systems advisory committee to guide policies on domestic drone integration. In a speech at the Xponential convention in New Orleans, FAA administrator Michael Huerta also said that students will soon be allowed to fly drones for educational and research purposes without going through the same permission process required of commercial drone users.
Drone startup Flirtey conducted the first successful delivery by an autonomous drone in a residential area. The company, which had received permission from the FAA to test the delivery system, carried out the flight in Nevada. “Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us closer to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep,” Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney said in an interview with the Associated Press.
In our new report, “Analysis of U.S. Drone Exemptions 2014-2015,” we studied 2,700 FAA permits for non-recreational drone use to develop a detailed picture of the drone industry. Among other findings, we determined that entities are now intending to use drones for a greater variety of applications than before, and that “Emergency Services” has grown more quickly than any other category of operation proposed by operators. The full report is available for download here.
A major U.S. airstrike in Somalia reportedly killed at least 150 al-Shabab fighters. The strike, which was carried out by manned and unmanned aircraft, targeted a compound 120 miles north of Mogadishu. According to a statement released by the Pentagon, the Shabab fighters were assembling for an attack on American and allied military installations in east Africa.
Chinese commercial drone maker DJI has unveiled the Phantom 4. The latest iteration in the popular Phantom quadcopter series features advanced obstacle avoidance technology and a follow-me feature setting. It will be available to purchase at Apple Stores worldwide.