Shield AI – the defense technology company building the world’s best AI pilot for aircraft – recently announced it had raised $200 million in Series F funding in an oversubscribed funding round. This funding round – led by U.S. Innovative Technology Fund (USIT) and co-led by Riot Ventures – with participation from Cathie Wood’s ARK Invest and returning investors Disruptive and Snowpoint, values Shield AI at $2.7 billion.
Shield AI has created an AI pilot called Hivemind, which enables teams of intelligent aircraft to operate autonomously in high-threat environments on the edge without needing remote operators, command inputs, or GPS. And the technology approach is similar to those in the self-driving car industry. Its aircraft-agnostic software stack allows Shield AI to provide autonomy to various form factors across the aerospace industry.
This recent announcement comes on the heels of the company’s recent launch of its V-BAT Teams product. And this product enables a single human operator to command a minimum of four V-BATs, generating real-time AI-driven flight paths and exhibiting dynamic read-and-react behaviors autonomously. V-BAT Teams can complete missions from start to finish without the need for an operator or pilot (except for lethal decision-making).
The company has been diligently working on integrating Hivemind into uncrewed fighter jets, a significant effort supported both through government programs and company R&D. And in December 2022, Shield AI, along with its government partners, made aviation history by autonomously maneuvering a modified F-16 in real-world air-combat scenarios. The company also continues to fly and test its autonomy on fighter jets and has more autonomous maneuver flight hours of fighter jets than any company in the world.
The funds from the Series F round will be used to:
– Scale and deploy Shield AI’s V-BAT Teams product domestically and internationally.
– Accelerate tech integration with third-party uncrewed platforms.
“We’re building the world’s best AI pilot to ensure air superiority and deter conflict because we believe the greatest victory requires no war. This funding accelerates the scaling of Shield AI’s products, enabling the deployment of intelligent, affordable mass—the most important non-nuclear deterrent for the next 30 years.”
– Brandon Tseng, Shield AI’s President, co-founder, and former Navy SEAL
“The increasing number of military conflicts we have seen over the last 18 months unfortunately paints a sobering view of our future defense technology needs and the important role AI will play. Shield AI continues to be a pioneer in this sector, driving much needed innovation by developing state-of-the art AI pilots. We are proud to continue supporting their mission as they leverage these cutting-edge technologies to deter conflict before it begins.”
– Thomas Tull, Chairman of USIT
“As deep-tech investors, we have seen a large swath of autonomy efforts in every realm and Shield AI has a clear lead. Battlefields are increasingly dominated by drone warfare and the enemy is doing everything in their power to make it a hostile environment, including blocking communications and GPS. Modern air forces are flying blind. Shield’s AI pilot doesn’t require GPS or communications because it’s smart and adaptable to the environment. Their AI is trainable and adaptable to many different missions and has flown teams of quadcopters, V-BATs, and modern fighter jets. The closest tech comparable we’ve seen is what Tesla is doing with their self-driving stack. Their combination of market-leading AI technology and top-tier growth is why we are excited to continue to invest in the company.”
– Stephen Marcus, Co-Founder and General Partner of Riot Ventures