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Mon, Sep 19, 2016

Shield AI To Develop Autonomous Microdrone For U.S. Military

Will Be Able To Fly Indoors Without Operator, GPS

The U.S. Defense Department is funding development of a new micro drone that can operate autonomously indoors that can be used to map buildings without the use of GPS.

A Firm-Fixed-Price (FFP) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) contract valued at $1 million was awarded by the The U.S. Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ), on behalf of the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental (DIUx) and the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), to Shield AI, Inc. for a nine month prototype project in the area of Autonomous Tactical Airborne Drones.

DefenseOne.com reports that, according to company representative Brandon Tseng, the small aircraft can be launched outside the building and "fly inside without GPS, map the building, and multi-cast HD video of what’s inside to any number of users…It is the AI that makes it more suitable for all ground operations. Infantry and special operations forces need to have situational awareness at all times, and they lose it if they’re trying to pilot a drone inside. Our AI removes the requirement for a remote pilot."

There are other microdrones that can map buildings, but Shield AI says theirs is the only one that can operate autonomously, according to the report.

The aircraft uses cameras, lasers, and inertial and ultrasonic sensors to create its map of the building.

(Image from Sheild AI YouTube video)

FMI: http://shield.ai

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