Shield AI has acquired Heron Systems for an undisclosed sum to further expand its artificial intelligence engineering and reinforcement learning capabilities.
Heron Systems is a software company founded in 1993 and is known for developing an AI pilot that emerged undefeated against a human Air Force F-16 fighter pilot in five rounds of simulated air combat during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s AlphaDogfight Trials, Shield AI said Thursday.
Heron, which has offices in Alexandria, Virginia, and California, Maryland, will now operate as a wholly owned division of Shield AI as a result of the transaction. The companies will field AI pilots to future and legacy military aircraft in support of national security priorities.
Brandon Tseng, chief operating officer and co-founder of Shield AI, said militaries equipped with the best AI pilots will have a decisive advantage on the battlefield.
“The combined Shield AI and Heron team is excited and humbled to contribute to the warfighter, national security, and global stability by operationalizing AI-pilots onboard 6th generation fighters and Group 5 UAS,” he added.
Ryan Tseng, CEO and co-founder of Shield AI, said operationalizing Heron Systems’ work on Next-Generation Air Dominance and other programs “must be a national security priority.”
San Diego-based Shield AI is a venture-backed company that advances the development of self-driving technologies for military aircraft in support of the Department of Defense and allies.