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Shield AI Raises $210M for Aircraft Self-Flying Technology

ShieldAI Nova400x275

August 24, 2021

Shield AI, a defense technology company developing artificial intelligence and self-driving technologies for aircraft, has announced it raised $210 million in equity financing as part of a Series D fundraising round. The management team said it projects an additional $75 million in debt and $15 million in equity to be secured in the coming weeks, bringing the total proceeds to $300 million.

The Series D round will enable Shield AI and its recently acquired companies, Heron Systems and Martin UAV, to accelerate plans for growth across the defense and commercial industries. Shield AI’s software is called Hivemind, a self-driving autonomy stack for military and commercial aircraft (multi-role and multi-vehicle). The software employs algorithms for planning, mapping, and state-estimation to enable aircraft to execute dynamic flight maneuvers and utilizes reinforcement learning for discovery, learning, and execution of winning tactics and strategies. On aircraft, Hivemind enables full autonomy and is designed to run fully on the edge in high-threat, GPS- and communication-degraded environments.

“The funding round enables Shield AI to move one step closer to its goal of becoming a 21st-century defense prime through a software-first approach, where products derive strong competitive advantages from an autonomy and artificial intelligence backbone,” said Ryan Tseng, CEO and co-founder of Shield AI. “[This is] similar to what you see across the consumer product market, where great hardware is differentiated through great software.”

The Shield AI hardware includes the Nova and V-BAT UAS. Hivemind is integrated onboard the Nova, and will be integrated onboard the V-BAT UAS, the company said. It added that Shield AI is committed to supporting third-party aircraft with autonomy solutions.

“As a member of the faculty at the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute, I have the privilege of engaging with students and faculty who define the state of the art in AI and robotics,” said Nate Michael, CTO at Shield AI. “I joined Shield AI in the early days because it represented an  opportunity to transition leading technologies from the lab to applications for good at global scale. We are now well positioned to achieve this objective and, with this investment, we will further scale our AI operations to more rapidly solve pressing problems facing people around the world.”

The funding round was led by Disruptive, an Austin, Texas-based late-stage technology investor headed by Alex Davis; with participation from multiple top-tier venture funds, including Point72 Ventures, which led the company’s Series C round. The Series D investors join VC firms that led prior rounds, including Breyer Capital and Andreesen Horowitz.

For more details on the company and its offerings, visit the Shield AI website.

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