Shield AI Acquires Another AI Pilot Company, Heron Systems

Shield AI, a developer of artificial intelligence (AI) technology for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), has acquired Heron Systems Inc., which has developed AI software for fighter aircraft, a deal the companies say will accelerate the use of AI pilots on military aircraft.

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Shield AI, which is based in San Diego, has just over 200 employees and Heron, which is based in Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland, has about 40 employees.

Heron last summer won the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s final round of the AlphaDogfight trials that involved an AI pilot in an F-16 fighter simulator defeating actual Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps pilots that also used F-16 simulators in dogfights (Defense Daily, Aug. 20, 2020).

Heron’s work with large fighter jets, as opposed to Shield AI’s work with small UAS, will give Shield AI the chance to work on large aircraft, a company spokesman told Defense Daily, adding that the…