Shield AI, the cutting-edge defense technology company specializing in AI pilots for aircraft, has successfully raised additional capital in its ongoing Series F funding round. The company now boasts a formidable total of $500 million in funding, with an extra $100 million in equity, raised at the Series F valuation, and an additional $200 million in debt from Hercules Capital. This comes in addition to the initial $200 million in equity secured back in November.
Ryan Tseng, Shield AI’s CEO and Co-founder, highlighted the transformative impact of AI pilots on national security and global stability, positioning them as a strategic conventional deterrent comparable to aircraft carriers and guided missile submarines. Notably, these AI pilots represent a groundbreaking paradigm shift in aerospace and defense, being software-defined and made feasible by recent advancements in AI and computing power.
Brandon Tseng, President, Co-founder, and former Navy SEAL, emphasized the profound implications of AI pilots in addressing critical challenges. In particular, he noted the solution they provide to the electronic warfare issues faced in the Russia-Ukraine War, where GPS and communications jamming have been devastating to drones. AI pilots, according to Tseng, offer a resolution to this problem and enable the concept of intelligent, affordable mass – a strategy where swarms of cost-effective aircraft can effectively carry out missions typically reserved for expensive and sophisticated counterparts.
Shield AI’s flagship product, Hivemind, stands out as an AI pilot capable of facilitating the autonomous operation of teams of intelligent aircraft in high-threat environments, eliminating the need for remote operators or reliance on GPS. Functioning as an aircraft-agnostic autonomy stack akin to self-driving technology in cars, Hivemind has already demonstrated its capabilities by successfully flying various aircraft, including quadcopters, the MQ-35A V-BAT, and the F-16. The company has accumulated a noteworthy track record, boasting more autonomous flight hours executing fighter jet maneuvers, including dogfighting, than any other company globally.
Adding to their innovative portfolio, Shield AI recently introduced V-BAT Teams, a groundbreaking software product powered by Hivemind. This product enables teams of V-BATs to autonomously execute missions, showcasing a level of coordination and adaptability akin to human pilots working collaboratively. As Shield AI continues to push the boundaries of AI in the defense sector, these developments signal a significant step forward in reshaping the landscape of autonomous aviation and its pivotal role in modern defense strategies.