Drones


Saudis say they don't want war with Iran but will defend themselves

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday, after the kingdom's energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf. On Sunday night, a rocket crashed in the Iraqi capital's heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the U.S. Embassy, further stoking tensions. No casualties were reported in the apparent attack. Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers-- two of them Saudi-- were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline. "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests," al-Jubeir told reporters.


Alphabet-owned Wing will begin making drone deliveries in Finland next month

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Wing, an offshoot of Google's parent company, Alphabet, will launch drone deliveries to one of Finland's most populous areas next month according to a recent blog post from the company. Pilot deliveries will be rolled out in the Vousari district of Finland's capital, Helsinki, and will deliver products from gourmet supermarket Herkku foods and Cafe Monami. As noted by Wing, deliveries will include'fresh Finnish pastries, meatballs for two, and a range of other meals and snacks' that can be delivered in minutes. Wing will launch deliveries for customers in Finland starting next month. Wing, the first commercial drone company approved by the FAA in the U.S. will start delivering in Virginia.


Bomb-laden drones of Yemen's Houthi rebels seen threatening Arabian Peninsula

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - A Yemen rebel drone strike this week on a critical Saudi oil pipeline shows that the otherwise-peaceful sandy reaches of the Arabian Peninsula now are at risk of similar assault, including an under-construction nuclear power plant and Dubai International Airport, among the world's busiest. U.N. investigators said the Houthis' new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition's war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 km (930 miles). That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the two main opponents of the Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in Yemen, within reach of drones difficult to detect and track. Their relatively simple design, coupled with readily available information online, makes targeting even easier, analysts say. "These installations are easily findable, like on Google Earth," said Tim Michetti, an expert on illicit weapons technology with experience in Yemen.


Casualties reported as Saudi-led coalition airstrikes hit Sanaa

The Japan Times

SANAA - The Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen carried out several airstrikes on the Houthi-held capital Sanaa on Thursday after the Iranian-aligned movement claimed responsibility for drone attacks on Saudi oil installations. The Sanaa strikes targeted nine military sites in and around the city, residents said, with humanitarian agencies reporting a number of casualties. Rubble filled a populated street lined by mud-brick houses, a Reuters journalist on the scene said. A crowd of men lifted the body of a women, wrapped in a white shroud, into an ambulance. Houthi-run Masirah television quoted the Houthi health ministry as saying six civilians, including four children, had been killed and 60 wounded, including two Russian women working in the health sector.


U.S. pulls nonessential staffers from Iraq amid Mideast tensions linked to Iran

The Japan Times

BAGHDAD - The U.S. on Wednesday ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions sweeping the Persian Gulf region over still-unspecified threats that the Trump administration says are linked to Iran. Recent days have seen allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region. At the root of this appears to be President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to pull the U.S. from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran. In response, Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn't be difficult for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. The movement of diplomatic personnel is often done in times of conflict, but what is driving the decisions from the White House remains unclear.


Iran's foreign minister says US sanctions 'unacceptable'

FOX News

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, walks to meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Thursday, May 16, 2019. Iran's foreign minister has said his country is committed to an international nuclear deal and criticized escalating U.S. sanctions "unacceptable" as he met with Japanese officials in Tokyo amid rising tensions in the Middle East.(AP Saudi Arabia said drones attacked one of its pipeline.; TOKYO – Iran's foreign minister says his country is committed to an international nuclear deal but that the escalating U.S. sanctions are "unacceptable." The remarks come amid rising tensions in the Mideast, with allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied rebels and the dispatch of U.S. warships and bombers to the region.


FAA to Debut Remote ID Rule in July – UAS VISION

#artificialintelligence

The FAA plans to release its remote identification ruling for UAS in July, UAS Integration Office Executive Director Jay Merkle said in front of Congress last week. The remote ID rules -- often compared to license plates for drones -- would allow the FAA, police officers and other public officials to look up a UAS by a broadcast unique identifier and find out information about the operator. This would go hand-in-hand with registration rules to prevent uncooperative flights around airports or other illegal uses from going unpunished. "We are working currently to ensure that we keep the policy component along with standards and remote id infrastructure all developed and harmonized," Merkle said during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing about integrating new entrants into the National Airspace System. Remote ID has its detractors, who say it exposes too much private information of operators, but the FAA determined that it is necessary since, unlike with a car, the operator is not present, and there needs to be some accountability attached to that anonymity.


Tiny drone uses A.I. to learn from nature's best pilot, the hummingbird

#artificialintelligence

One of nature's most remarkable creations is the hummingbird, which flaps its wings up to 80 times per second and which can hover in place and fly in any direction. Now scientists have used machine learning algorithms to study the way these birds fly in order to replicate their abilities in drones. The robot, developed by researchers at Purdue University, has artificial intelligence (A.I.) which learns from hummingbird simulations and applies its findings to the movements of its flexible flapping wings. This is useful because of limitations on how small a drone can be made. When drones are shrunk to very small sizes, they cannot generate enough lift to move their weight.


Are ethics keeping pace with technology?

Robohub

At the same time, my relaxed post-vacation disposition was quickly rocked by the news of the day and recent discussions regarding the extent of AI bias within New York's financial system. These unrelated incidents are very much connected in representing the paradox of the acceleration of today's inventions. Last Friday, The University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) became the first hospital system to safely transport, via drone, a live organ to a waiting transplant patient with kidney failure. The demonstration illustrates the huge opportunity of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to significantly reduce the time, costs, and outcome of organ transplants by removing human-piloted helicopters from the equation. As Dr. Joseph Scalea, UMMC project lead, explains "There remains a woeful disparity between the number of recipients on the organ transplant waiting list and the total number of transplantable organs. This new technology has the potential to help widen the donor organ pool and access to transplantation."


Swarms of Drones, Piloted by Artificial Intelligence, May Soon Patrol Europe's Borders

#artificialintelligence

Imagine you're hiking through the woods near a border. Suddenly, you hear a mechanical buzzing, like a gigantic bee. Two quadcopters have spotted you and swoop in for a closer look. They send the signals to a central server, which triangulates your exact location and feeds it back to the drones. Cameras and other sensors on the machines recognize you as human and try to ascertain your intentions.