Defense technology firm Shield AI has unveiled its latest product, V-BAT Teams, aimed at enhancing autonomous aircraft missions in electronically contested zones.
The V-BAT Teams product equips multiple V-BATs (Vertical Take-off and Landing drones) with the capability to autonomously execute missions. It allows these aircraft to interpret and respond to adversaries, environmental conditions, and other V-BATs in the mission. The product is structured as a modular Nvidia GPU upgrade, which incorporates Shield AI's artificial intelligence (AI) pilot software called Hivemind. This software is installed in the V-BAT's modular payload bay.
Brandon Tseng, co-founder and President of Shield AI, emphasized the product's significance in electronic warfare scenarios, especially when used in tandem with human-machine teams. He remarked on the product's potential to considerably amplify combat power as the team size increases, comparing the capabilities of small squads to that of larger battalions.
One of the primary features of V-BAT Teams is its ability to provide warfighters with constant coverage over expansive geographic areas. This enables the identification, tracking, and targeting of multiple enemy assets in operational and electronically challenged zones, ensuring efficiency in terms of cost.
Ryan Tseng, CEO and co-founder of Shield AI, stressed the importance of intelligent, autonomous aircraft in maintaining aerial dominance and, crucially, deterrence. Shield AI's nine-year journey has been dedicated to crafting an AI pilot that can be integrated into a variety of aircraft, from simple quadcopters to advanced F-16 fighter jets.
Key features of the V-BAT Teams include:
- AI and Autonomy: Using Shield AI's Hivemind, V-BAT Teams can operate independently in hostile environments without relying on GPS or communications.
- Scalability: Beginning with smaller formations in 2023, future deployments can support increasing numbers, potentially reaching thousands of aircraft.
- Streamlined Updates: The system will benefit from regular software updates and biennial autonomy compute payload releases.
- Deployment and Management: The product ensures swift AI pilot installations on V-BATs and introduces an enhanced control system, the GCS ruggedized mobile control station. This station is designed for overseeing large aircraft teams, ensuring commanders receive timely and relevant mission data.
Shield AI is currently taking orders for V-BAT Teams, with the first deliveries set for 2024.