Shield AI, based in San Diego, in 2021 acquired Heron Systems, which develops AI software for fighter aircraft, and Martin UAV, which makes the medium-size V-Bat series of unmanned aircraft pictured here. The company has just closed a $165 million funding round. (Photo, courtesy of Shield AI)
Defense technology startup Shield AI has closed a $165 million funding round that the company said will be used to accelerate the development artificial intelligence (AI) pilots, including in degraded GPS and communications environments.
Shield AI said that with the investment it is now the fourth startup valued in the multi-billion-dollar range in the past 20 years, joining SpaceX, Palantir and Anduril. The company said its valuation is $2.3 billion.
The latest funding round included $90 million in equity and $75 million in debt and was led by Snowpoint Ventures with participation by venture funds Riot Ventures, Disruptive and Homebrew.
“The future of defense aviation is autonomy,” Ryan Tseng, Shield AI’s CEO, said in a statement. “AI pilots are the most disruptive technology of our generation, and Shield AI is committed to putting the world’s best AI pilots in the hands of the United States and our allies. No company has assembled more, or recruits better AI engineering talent for aviation autonomy and intelligent swarming than Shield AI.”
Shield AI, based in San Diego, in 2021 acquired Heron Systems, which develops AI software for fighter aircraft, and Martin UAV, which makes the medium-size V-Bat series of unmanned aircraft that take off and land vertically and fly horizontally like fixed-wing aircraft. The company’s key software is Hivemind, which removes the need for human operators, GPS and radio frequency links for unmanned aircraft systems and allows the aircraft to operate autonomously in highly contested and GPS-denied environments.
The company also has a small UAS, Nova, which has integrated Hivemind and has been used in combat since 2018. The software will soon be integrated with V-BAT, Shield AI said.
Hivemind is designed to run on the edge, disconnected from the cloud.
This article was first published by Defense Daily, a sister publication to Avionics International, it has been edited.>>