A developer of artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving car technologies for the defense industry, Shield AI, recently announced the acquisition of Martin UAV, an aerospace company known for its industry-leading vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aircraft, V-BAT, in a definitive agreement. As part of the deal, Shield AI will integrate its combat-proven autonomy software, Hivemind®, into the V-BAT, strengthening Shield AI’s position as a leader in defense-oriented edge autonomy.

Ryan Tseng, Shield AI CEO and co-founder, said, “Our team extensively examined the VTOL aircraft market. The architecture of the V-BAT is special. It looks different because it is different – no product or technical architecture is better positioned to meet current and future Department of Defense needs. 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.”

A unique UAS on the market, the V-BAT is a close-to-zero footprint, long-endurance VTOL aircraft. The rocket takes off and lands using a single, ducted, thrust-vectored fan similar to those used by SpaceX. with 10 times longer flight time, a 25-pound payload capacity, and the ability to hover and stare at its target longer than any of its competitors put this aircraft above the competition. The logistics footprint of the system is small enough to fit in the bed of a pickup truck or inside a Blackhawk helicopter, reducing overall costs. The V-BAT is perceived as an extremely flexible platform capable of performing UAS missions in Groups 1 to 4 and beyond by the US and international customers.

According to Ruben Martin, CEO of Martin UAV, said, “GPS and communications on the battlefield are no longer assured. A great aircraft without an AI to make intelligent decisions will be side-lined against China, Russia, and an increasing number of adversaries who are fielding electronic warfare and anti-air systems. Shield AI is one of the only companies that has operationalized 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.”