Al-Qaida released a statement this past Tuesday, stating that one of its members, Ibrahim al-Rubaish, was killed in a drone strike in Yemen. Al-Rubaish was a leader of al-Qaida, and according to the Associated Press, was considered the “main idealogue and theological adviser,” whose writings and sermons were prominent in its publications.” The drone strike is evidence that despite the growing chaos in Yemen, the U.S. is still carrying out military operations against the terrorist group. Al-Qaida called the drone strike, a “hate-filled Crusader strike.” Al-Rabaish was released from Guantanamo in 2006, and sent to a rehabilitation program for jihadis in Saudi Arabia, a program which boasts an eighty percent success rate, but a twenty percent rate at which those who take the program resume terrorist activities.
This past week, the “Drones for Good” competition was held in Dubai, with teams from all around the world coming to show the drones they have made, and with the hope of winning $1 million. There were a wide variety of drones presented, including a drone from Khalifa University which sprayed a “salty” solution into the air to dissipate fog, in a manner similar to cloud-seeding. Another drone was designed to clean windows. To do so, it had a squeegee attached to its outer rim, allowing it to clean the windows of the skyscrapers of Dubai. Also presented was a drone in a gimbal with a cage surrounding the drone from team “Flyability.” This gimbal and cage allowed the drone to strike walls and other surfaces but maintain it’s trajectory, allowing it to go into confined spaces, such as the ruins of a burnt-out building.
One of the worlds most innovative and revolutionary drone companies is surprisingly not based out of Silicon Valley, but instead out of Shenzen, China. The company is called SZ DJI Co., or DJI, and has grown from a small office in 2006 to over 3000 workers, with offices in the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands. The drones are quadcopters, sold at $1,000, and boasts being easy for beginners to fly. The latest model, the Phantom 3, is “the first drone with a 4K camera,” and has a range of up to 1.2 miles. The company is also famous for one of its drones crashing onto the White House lawn, despite having a built-in list of “no-fly zones.” After the incident, downtown D.C. is now being added to this list. The company is now looking to raise a $10 billion valuation from its investors, which would make it one of the “elite” drone companies in the world.