Startup Recruits AI for Battlefield Protection

May 15, 2017
A startup company is developing a battlefield drone equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) to make critical tactical decisions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the key to developing products to protect service members and civilians on the battlefield, and it is the technology driving Shield AI. The San Diego-based startup company raised $10.5 million in investment capital as part of Series A round funding led by Andreesen Horowitz. The funding will be used to speed the development of the company’s AI products.

Peter Levine, general partner at Andreesen Horowitz, has been appointed to Shield’s board of directors. Other major venture investors include Homebrew, Bloomberg Beta, and Founder Collective. One of the AI-based projects in development by Shield is an unmanned aerial aircraft (UAV). The drone is capable of finding people and detecting threats inside buildings without a remote pilot.

Shield’s co-founder, Brandon Tseng, gained knowledge about battlefield needs during combat experiences in Afghanistan, founding the company in July 2015 with his brother, CEO Ryan Tseng, and CTO Andrew Reiter. “When Brandon shared his stories of loss, and inspiring vision of artificially intelligent machines that would save lives, Andrew and I left our jobs to join Brandon and start Shield,” said Ryan Tseng.

The Shield drone is being developed as a virtual combat partner with its own decision-making capabilities. “When deployed,” explained Brandon Tseng, “Shield AI drones will be the first example of service members using artificial intelligence on the battlefield to gather real-time information that saves lives, and will provide immediate protection to U.S. ground forces and innocent civilians caught in conflict.”

About the Author

Jack Browne | Technical Contributor

Jack Browne, Technical Contributor, has worked in technical publishing for over 30 years. He managed the content and production of three technical journals while at the American Institute of Physics, including Medical Physics and the Journal of Vacuum Science & Technology. He has been a Publisher and Editor for Penton Media, started the firm’s Wireless Symposium & Exhibition trade show in 1993, and currently serves as Technical Contributor for that company's Microwaves & RF magazine. Browne, who holds a BS in Mathematics from City College of New York and BA degrees in English and Philosophy from Fordham University, is a member of the IEEE.

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