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Shield AI lands another $300M at $2.8B valuation to deploy its AI pilot for aircraft and drones

Shield AI team
Picture credits: Shield AI

After German defence tech companies ARX and Helsing raised investments, Shield AI, a US defense technology company building the world’s best AI pilot for aircraft, has raised an additional $100 million in Series F funding and $200 million in debt from Hercules Capital. Adding to the already raised $200 million, this takes the total investment raised in the Series F round so far to $500 million.

With this round, the company’s valuation has scaled to $2.8 billion, which is up from $2.7 billion in November 2023. Shield AI intends to use the funds to accelerate its AI pilots’ deployment to different aircraft classes.

Deploys AI pilot with aircraft

Founded by Andrew Reiter, Brandon Tseng, and Ryan Tseng in 2015 in San Diego, Shield AI builds an AI pilot called Hivemind, which enables teams of intelligent aircraft to operate autonomously in high-threat environments on the edge, without the need for remote operators, command inputs, or GPS. 

The San Diego-based company recently launched V-BAT Teams, a software product that operates with Hivemind and enables teams of V-BAT drones to execute missions autonomously and in coordination.

This technology is similar to that of self-driving cars. Hivemind employs state-of-the-art algorithms for planning, mapping, and state estimation to enable aircraft to execute dynamic flight maneuvers and uses reinforcement learning for the discovery, learning, and execution of winning tactics and strategies. It has flown quadcopters, the MQ-35A, V-BAT, and the F-16.

“AI pilots are becoming a strategic conventional deterrent in class with our aircraft carriers and guided missile submarines. But interestingly, it’s the first strategic deterrent that is software-defined and has only recently become possible because of advances in AI and computing power. That’s a huge paradigm shift for aerospace and defense,” said Ryan Tseng, Shield AI’s CEO and co-founder.

“The defense and investment communities are seeing the profound impact AI pilots will have on national security and global stability. AI pilots solve the electronic warfare (GPS- and communications-jamming) problem that’s devastating 10,000 drones per month in the Russia-Ukraine War. They enable the operating concept of intelligent, affordable mass, where swarms of affordable aircraft can accomplish missions normally reserved for expensive, exquisite aircraft,” said Brandon Tseng, Shield AI’s President, co-founder, and former Navy SEAL.

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