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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Shield AI acquires firm that beat a human pilot

Any company whose artificial intelligence engine outperformed a human piloted fighter jet in a dogfight would get its profile raised more than a bit.

Heron Systems built that system and now has a buyer in Shield AI that sees artificial intelligence as a national security imperative.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Heron is a woman-owned small business headquartered in Columbia, Maryland.

The success of Heron’s AI pilot in that exercise versus an F-16 was what made them such an attractive takeover target for Shield AI. Heron took on the F-16 as part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's AlphaDogfight trials in 2020.

“With China already showing comparable results, operationalizing Heron’s work for programs such as Next Generation Air Dominance must be a national security priority,” said Shield AI CEO Ryan Tseng.

Shield AI was already applying self-driving car technologies to military aircraft. The company sees this deal as helping it accelerate the development and deployment of AI pilot technologies for fighter jets and unmanned aerial systems.

According to Shield AI, China has already developed an AI pilot that is beating their human pilots in simulated dogfights.

Once the acquisition closes, Heron Systems will operate as a division of Shield AI.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 22, 2021 at 12:38 PM

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