San Diego-based start-up Shield AI is building an artificially intelligent (AI) drone that finds people and threats inside buildings without a remote pilot. The impetus for Shield AI was provided by co-founder Brandon Tseng’s experiences serving in combat in Afghanistan, the company says.
Shield AI has raised $10.5 million in a Series A round, led by Andreesen Horowitz. The funding will be used to accelerate the development and deployment of products that will protect servicemembers and civilians on the battlefield, the company says.
Peter Levine, general partner at Andreesen Horowitz, has been appointed to Shield AI’s board of directors. Other major venture investors in Shield AI include Homebrew, Bloomberg Beta and Founder Collective.
“When deployed, Shield AI drones will be the first example of servicemembers 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,” says Tseng.
Tseng teamed up with his older brother Ryan (CEO) and Andrew Reiter (chief technology officer) in July 2015 to found Shield AI, which currently has contracts with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security.
“Sometimes tragic things happen when good information is lacking on the battlefield,” adds Tseng.
He says the AI-enabled quadcopters are a “tactical asset with strategic impact” and that artificial intelligence “will positively transform the battlefield by providing critical insights that remove the fog of war – which will enable servicemembers to make lifesaving decisions.”