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Shield AI to acquire Martin UAV

Shield AI to acquire Martin UAV

The firm is set to integrate its autonomous software into Martin UAV’s flagship platform, after signing an agreement to acquire the firm.

The firm is set to integrate its autonomous software into Martin UAV’s flagship platform, after signing an agreement to acquire the firm.

Shield AI has confirmed the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Martin UAV, best known for its development of unmanned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, V-BAT.

The acquisition will enable Shield AI, a producer of artificial intelligence and autonomous software solutions, to integrate its Hivemind combat platform into the V-BAT.

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Hivemind leverages path-planning, mapping, state estimation, computer vision algorithms, and reinforcement learning and simulations, to train unmanned systems to execute a variety of military operations, including infantry clearance operations, and the breaching of integrated air defence systems. 

This is expected to enhance the V-BAT, which is propelled by a single, ducted, thrust-vectored fan, offering hours of flight time, 11.3 kilograms of payload, and extended endurance.

“The combination of Shield AI and Martin UAV and the integration of Hivemind into the V-BAT represents the future of unmanned aircraft," Brandon Tseng, Shield AI co-founder and former Navy SEAL, said.

Ruben Martin, CEO Martin UAV noted the importance of the new capability in the modern warfare environment.  

“A great aircraft without an AI to make intelligent decisions will be sidelined against China, Russia, and an increasing number of adversaries who are fielding electronic warfare and anti-air systems,” he said.

“Shield AI is one of the only companies that has operationalised advanced aircraft autonomy on the battlefield. Hivemind will make V-BAT the first and only Group 3 UAS built for sustained operations in denied environments.”

Ryan Tseng, Shield AI CEO and co-founder, said the architecture of the V-BAT was selected after a careful examination of the VTOL market.

“It looks different because it is different – no product or technical architecture is better positioned to meet current and future Department of Defense needs,” Tseng said.

“The engineers behind V-BAT solved extremely complex problems with innovative and first-principles approaches. By addressing these problems, they unlocked critical advantages over other VTOL aircraft.”

Martin UAV's V-BAT has been deployed in support of SOUTHCOM, the US Marine Corps, and multiple international customers.

This latest announcement comes just a week after Shield AI announced its acquisition of Heron Systems, the winners of the DARPA AlphaDogfight Trials.

[Related: DroneShield enters Brazilian market]

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