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Shield AI, Kratos to Integrate AI Pilot With XQ-58 Valkyrie Drone

Shield AI and Kratos have partnered to integrate and market an artificially intelligent pilot with the XQ-58 Valkyrie aerial drone for the US Department of Defense and allied forces.

The partnership aims to “unlock” the concept of an efficient, effective manned-unmanned teaming solution to support international military customers.

Lessons From Ukraine

According to Shield AI, an artificial intelligence-native program can control unmanned aerial vehicles to carry out missions without communications or GPS capability.

This approach addresses requirements to counter emerging anti-drone threats, as seen in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“Ukraine is losing 10,000 drones per month due to Russian electronic warfare – primarily because the Russians are jamming communications and GPS,” Shield AI President and Co-Founder Brandon Tseng explained.

“If an uncrewed aircraft is unable to operate without GPS and without communications, it will be near useless in future conflicts.”

“When you take an incredible, affordable uncrewed jet aircraft like the XQ-58 and pair it up with our AI pilot, you create a game-changing strategic deterrent.”

Marketing New Manned-Unmanned Solution

Shield AI said its combat-ready AI drone pilot technology has the proven capability to operate different systems, including quadcopters, a modified F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter jet, and the company’s proprietary V-BAT tactical drone.

By combining the AI pilot and Valkyrie’s key performance capabilities, the Shield AI-Kratos team expects to be in a “unique position” to deliver manned-unmanned teaming aircraft to the defense market.

XQ-58A Valkyrie
XQ-58A Valkyrie unmanned aerial system. Photo: Kratos

“The Valkyrie is one of a very few number of uncrewed jet aircraft that are flying today, ramping in production, and are ready for AI pilot integration,” Shield AI CEO and Co-Founder Ryan Tseng stated.

“Close integration and access with Kratos on the XQ-58 will enable the productization of intelligent uncrewed jet aircraft on a timeline that is, quite frankly, going to shock some people.”

“Ultimately our AI pilots will be flying many uncrewed jet aircraft, but I can’t think of a better uncrewed jet to start with than the Valkyrie.”

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