Shield AI Expands Reach with the Acquisition of Sentient Vision Systems, Forms Shield AI Australia

In a strategic move to bolster its capabilities and extend its market presence, Shield AI, known for creating the Hivemind AI and autonomy platform, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sentient Vision Systems (Sentient), an Australian company specializing in AI-enabled situational awareness technologies. The acquisition is pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

This merger is poised to enhance intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, merging Shield AI’s and Sentient’s expertise in AI and operational insights to meet the evolving demands of defense and security environments. In a previous collaboration in August 2023, the two companies announced the development of a ViDAR-enabled wide area motion imagery (WAMI) solution, “Sentient Observer,” which Shield AI anticipates deploying within the year.

Brandon Tseng, Shield AI’s President, Cofounder, and a former Navy SEAL, emphasized the transformative potential of this acquisition. “Integrating Sentient Observer with our AI pilot and drone teams will deliver unprecedented domain awareness capabilities at a fraction of the cost of current systems. This aligns with the DoD’s vision for an all-seeing, resilient, and cost-effective surveillance solution,” Tseng stated.

Image: Shield AI

Ryan Tseng, CEO and Cofounder of Shield AI, highlighted the strategic importance of integrating Sentient’s ViDAR technology with Shield AI’s Hivemind AI pilot. “This combination creates the most sophisticated AI-piloted ISR sensor package available, particularly vital for covering the vast maritime expanses of the Pacific. The enhanced capabilities of Group 3-sized aircraft like the V-BAT, equipped with WAMI, represent a game-changer in operational effectiveness and cost efficiency,” said Ryan Tseng.

The acquisition follows a series of developments that underscore Shield AI’s growing influence in the Australian defense market, including the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certification of V-BAT for Australian operations and the launch of the first Australian V-BAT training course in collaboration with Toll Aviation.

Sentient’s CEO, Mark Palmer, praised Shield AI’s unique position in the market, noting the company’s operational AI pilot expertise. “The merger of our ViDAR technology with Shield AI’s Hivemind will dramatically increase situational awareness, enhance decision-making speed and efficacy, and has the potential to save lives,” Palmer remarked.

ViDAR, Sentient’s flagship AI system, utilizes Electro-Optic or Infrared (EO/IR) sensors for target detection and classification, offering capabilities beyond human operators or conventional radar. Shield AI’s Hivemind, an aircraft-agnostic autonomy stack, allows intelligent aircraft to autonomously execute missions in challenging environments without GPS or remote operators. Hivemind has been deployed on various aircraft, including the MQ-35A V-BAT, the F-16, and is set to fly on Kratos’ XQ-58 Valkyrie later this year, showcasing Shield AI’s leadership in autonomous flight technology.