Shield AI, a defense technology firm focused on creating an advanced AI pilot for aircraft, announced today that it has secured $200 million in an oversubscribed Series F funding round. The latest investment, spearheaded by the U.S. Innovative Technology Fund (USIT) and supported by Riot Ventures, ARK Invest, and returning investors Disruptive and Snowpoint, brings the company's valuation to $2.7 billion.
The company has developed an AI pilot named Hivemind. This system allows multiple intelligent aircraft to operate autonomously in high-risk areas without requiring remote operators, command directives, or GPS. The approach Shield AI employs is similar to technologies used in the self-driving car sector. Furthermore, its software stack can be integrated into different aircraft across the aerospace domain.
Shield AI recently introduced its V-BAT Teams product, which empowers a single human operator to oversee at least four V-BATs. These aircrafts generate AI-informed flight routes and can autonomously adapt to changing situations. Notably, these teams can execute entire missions without an operator or pilot, barring decisions related to lethal actions.
Last December, in collaboration with its government partners, Shield AI achieved a milestone by autonomously steering a modified F-16 jet in actual air-combat scenarios. The company holds the record for the most autonomous maneuver flight hours on fighter jets worldwide.
Thomas Tull, Chairman of USIT, highlighted the growing importance of AI in defense, given the uptick in global military confrontations in recent times. He commended Shield AI for its pioneering efforts in advancing AI pilots.
The funds from this round will be channeled towards enhancing and expanding the reach of the V-BAT Teams product both within and outside the US. Additionally, they will support the faster integration of the company's tech with third-party uncrewed platforms.
Stephen Marcus from Riot Ventures drew parallels between Shield AI's offerings and Tesla's self-driving technology, praising the company's fusion of premier AI tech and substantial growth.