The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: 01/02/17

December 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017

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Year in Review

2016 was many things to many people; for the world of drones, it was a year that saw major shifts, historic news events, and a range of significant emerging trends. We have looked back at the year to identify the stories and moments that mattered most. Here’s our 2016 Drone Year in Review.


A U.S. drone strike in Yemen reportedly killed a local leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Jalal al-Seydi was killed along with a bodyguard in al-Bayda province. (Agence France-Presse)

Commentary, Analysis, and Art

At Medium, Paul Aitken and Vic Moss argue that a recent FAA ruling on drone operations in restricted airspaces is placing airspace safety at risk and harming the drone industry.

At the Verge, Ben Popper reviews the victories and setbacks of the drone industry in 2016.

At Drone Law Blog, Jonathan Rupprecht argues that local, state, and federal drone laws mean that deliveries by drone are unlikely to begin any time soon.

At Scout Warrior, Mike Fabey writes that the U.S. Navy plans to expand the use of unmanned undersea vehicles.

At the Air Force Times, Stephen Losey writes that the U.S. Air Force is expected to increase the number of enlisted drone operators in 2017.

At the Marine Times, Matthew L. Schehl looks at how the U.S. Marine Corps is working on equipping infantry units with nano drones in the coming year.

At the Diplomat, Elsa Kania writes that the proliferation of unmanned systems is likely to heighten tensions in the South China Sea.

A report by consultancy firm PwC suggests that the global drone industry is worth approximately $127 billion in displaced human labor costs. (The Telegraph)

At the Portland Press Herald, Charles Eichacker considers how one aerial photographer’s business is representative of the growth of the drone industry in Maine.

At the Connecticut Post, Gary Stoller writes that the Connecticut state legislature is expected to consider legislation banning armed drones.

At Gizmodo, Rebecca Johnston offers a guide to what drone users in Australia need to know about local laws.

At the New York Times, Nora Walsh takes a look at luxury travel companies that offer drone photography services to customers.

At Motherboard, Madison Margolin looks at how some drone owners are buying sweaters for their miniature aircraft.

Know Your Drone

North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity, a group representing dissidents, reported that North Korea may be developing a drone capable of delivering a dirty bomb. (Yonhap News Agency)

The U.S. Patents Office has published a patent that it awarded to Amazon for a flying warehouse that can be used for drone deliveries. (Tech Times)

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore are developing an air traffic control system for drones. (New Atlas)

In a test, China’s Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation successfully fired an AR-2 missile from its CH-4 Rainbow drone. (East Pendulum)

Chinese startup Zerotech unveiled the Dobby, a pocket-sized aerial photography drone. (Business Insider)

Norwegian drone maker Griff Aviation has unveiled a multirotor drone reportedly capable of lifting up to 500 pounds. (Gear Junkie)

A team at Hadal Life Science Research Center at Shanghai Ocean University tested three unmanned undersea vehicles at a depth of over 30,000 feet. (Economic Times)

Defense firms Elbit Systems and VideoRay conducted a test in which a VideoRay Pro 4 remotely operated vehicle was controlled over a satellite link. (Unmanned Systems Technology)

Drones at Work

New York Times photographer Josh Haner used drones extensively in his project to document the effects of climate change. (New York Times)

The West Haven Fire Department used a drone to help firefighters tackle a large condo fire. (WTNH)

The City Council of Ripon, California passed an ordinance regulating the use of drones. (Manteca Bulletin)

The Rogers Police Department in Arkansas used a drone to search for a missing mother and daughter. (Arkansas Online)

Industry Intel

The U.K. Department for International Development announced that it will fund a program to deliver medicine and blood by drone in Tanzania. (BBC)

The U.S. Navy awarded Northrop Grumman Systems a $17.1 million contract for software and engineering support services for the MQ-8 Fire Scout. (DoD)

Belarus is reportedly expected to sign a contract with China for the joint production of unmanned aircraft systems. (Belarusian Telegraph Agency)

Orbital Corporation will provide Boeing Insitu with engines for ScanEagle drones in a deal worth up to $180 million. (The West Australian)

The Undersecretariat of Defense Industry announced that Turkish Aerospace Industries will deliver the first ANKA-S medium-altitude long-endurance drones to the Turkish military in 2017. (Daily Sabah)

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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Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College a research and education initiative that brings together creative thinking and perspectives from a wide variety of academic fields to help the public better understand the drone and its implications.
Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College a research and education initiative that brings together creative thinking and perspectives from a wide variety of academic fields to help the public better understand the drone and its implications.

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