The Drone Center’s Weekly Roundup: Weekly Roundup 12/15
At the Center for the Study of the Drone
As the aerial view becomes more accessible, questions persist about how to properly read an aerial image. Revisiting Harun Farocki’s Images of the World and the Inscription of War (1988), Chanterelle Menashe Ribes considers the process of gazing at aerial images, and describes how when we look at a photo we only see what we want to see.
This week, President Obama nominated Ash Carter as the new Secretary of Defense. What will this mean for the future of U.S. military drones? Here’s what you need to know.
Israel dispatched fighter jets to intercept an alleged Hamas drone near the border with Gaza. The drone crossed into Israeli airspace during a festival celebrating the 27th anniversary of the founding of Hamas. The fighter planes returned to their base after the pilots determined that the drone posed little threat to Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
Amazon warned the Federal Aviation Administration that it could move its Prime Air operations overseas if it is not given permission to test the drones inside the United States. With Prime Air, Amazon hopes to be able to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less using drones. (Reuters)
Meanwhile, the FAA has allowed four additional companies to use drones for commercial purposes. The companies—Trimble Navigation Limited, VDOS Global, LLC, Clayco, Inc. and Woolpert, Inc.—were issued five exemptions from the ban on commercial drones. The companies will use drones for surveying land, inspecting oil rigs, and monitoring construction sites. (CBS News)
Police in Delhi are planning on using drones equipped with night vision cameras to patrol the streets in the northern part of the city. The decision follows several cases of rape that have prompted calls for better security in the capital. “The video can be streamed to the [Quick Response Team] vehicle which will monitor it in real time and respond quickly if it sees something wrong,” a senior police official told the Times of India.
For more on drones in India, click here.
The “Mistletoe Drone”—an advertising stunt by restaurant chain TGI Fridays—accidentally crashed into a customer. The aircraft, which was flying around the restaurant carrying mistletoe, injured Georgine Benvenuto, a Brooklyn-based photographer. (CNBC)
The Islamic State released aerial footage that it claims was taken with a drone of Kobane, a city in northern Syria. The video was released last week by the group’s media branch in Aleppo. (Washington Post)
Mexico refuted claims that it had attempted to purchase drones from Iran. Unnamed officials in the Mexican government told IHS Jane’s that there was no truth to a report by Iran’s Fars news agency that Mexico had expressed interest in acquiring the aircraft.
A couple in Washington state claims that their neighbor is using a drone to spy on them. (King5)
A former executive from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International has joined DroneDeploy, a startup company that creates software for managing commercial drones. Gretchen West, formerly the executive vice president of AUVSI, will lead DroneDeploy’s Business Development and Regulatory Affairs section. (Forbes)
Commentary, Analysis, and Art
Tony Tyler, the head of the aviation trade group International Air Transport Association, told Reuters that more regulations are needed if drones are to safely share the airspace with manned aircraft.
In an interview on BBC World Service Business Matters, Center for the Study of the Drone co-director Dan Gettinger discusses domestic drone regulations in the U.S.
Professor David H. Dunn, the co-author of a recent report on drones published by the University of Birmingham, says that drones “could be used as flying bombs” by terrorists. (The Telegraph)
The Washington Post editorial board argues that the FAA shouldn’t require commercial drone operators to hold pilot licenses.
At Forbes, Greg McNeal argues that Congress must intervene in the regulatory process if it wants to prevent companies from taking the drone industry overseas.
On North Country Public Radio, David Sommerstein interviewed a woman who works as a drone sensor operator for the U.S. Air Force.
Senator Dianne Feinstein warned that the CIA had better not be lying about the number of civilians killed in drone strikes. (Wired)
At Foreign Policy, Marcy Wheeler argues that the Bush and Obama administrations have both used the same legal memos to defend the torture program and the targeted killing campaign.
At Al Jazeera, Naureen Khan wonders whether in the future drone warfare will be viewed in the same way as the torture program is viewed today.
At Newsweek, Lucy Draper looks back at what has happened in the year since a deadly drone strike hit a wedding party in Yemen.
At the Guardian, Leo Benedictus writes about how drones are revolutionizing photography.
At Quartz, Zachary M. Seward compiled the 17 best drone videos that “gave a whole new perspective to 2014.”
Know Your Drone
In a live test in the Persian Gulf, a laser aboard the USS Ponce destroyed a target drone. (ABC)
For more on anti-drone lasers, click here
The U.S. Navy tested a 5-foot long submersible drone that looks and swims like a tuna fish. It’s called the Silent NEMO. (Virginian-Pilot)
Drones at Work
British hobbyist Nathaniel Durman made a short aerial drone video of the Shard skyscraper in London. (TheIndependent)
Rangers in the Australian Capital Territory will begin using drones to spray herbicides on invasive weeds. (The Age)
And this Christmas-y drone video has apparently beat out apple pie and football for the title of “Most American Thing Ever.” (Motherboard)