Tactical Drone Autonomously Flown with AI & Open Software

A Kratos MQM-178 Firejet was flown autonomously in a recent flight trial, using Shield AI’s “Hivemind” AI Pilot integrated with Parry Labs’ EC Micro to demonstrate advanced autonomy and open architecture edge compute By William Mackenzie / 19 Jun 2024
Tactical Drone Autonomously Flown with AI & Open Software
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Defense technology company Shield AI has successfully integrated its “Hivemind” AI Pilot on Parry Labs’ Edge Compute Micro (EC Micro), demonstrating advanced autonomy and open architecture edge compute in a recent autonomous flight test.

The successful integration was showcased in a flight where the artificial intelligence (AI), using only onboard computing, autonomously piloted a Kratos MQM-178 Firejet through several complex maneuvers. 

Parry Labs’ EC Micro provides an on-platform operating environment, combining high density CPU and advanced GPU processing resources for the orchestration of autonomy, navigation, intelligent networking, and AI/ML applications.

EC Micro’s small form factor and modularity enables expanded mission capacity and enhanced command and control across a wide range of air and ground platforms.  

EC Micro, Parry Labs’ smallest form factor to date, represents one of Parry Labs’ family of edge compute solutions built to host a wide variety of software capabilities at the tactical edge. 

Shield AI asserts that the work with Parry Labs enhances the scalability of the company’s technology, demonstrating that the Hivemind AI pilot can be rapidly adapted across a broad range of platforms.

This capability is optimized by Parry Labs’ open software and hardware, as well as by the integration of its compute modules into systems, such as the MQ-9A Reaper, MQ-1C Gray Eagle, and several other UAS. These integrations enable interfaces with both mission control and autopilot functionalities, streamlining the implementation process and expanding the operational reach of the AI pilot. 

John Parkes, CEO of Parry Labs, commented; “We are thrilled to partner with Shield AI to demonstrate the delivery of autonomous flight technology with our open architecture digital infrastructure.

“This benchmark event combining Shield AI’s Hivemind and the Parry Labs EC Micro on a Kratos aircraft validates the feasibility and necessity of leveraging modular approaches to deliver autonomy solutions at the speed and relevance of technology innovation.” 

Brandon Tseng, Shield AI’s President and Co-Founder, added; “This integration with Parry Labs’ EC Micro enhances our ability to rapidly deploy our AI Pilot across various platforms, more efficiently than working with multiple individual companies.

“As autonomy becomes essential across all platforms, the speed of implementing these solutions is crucial and will ultimately define the success of platform providers. Importantly, our AI pilot operates self-contained on the aircraft, setting it apart from today’s remotely piloted aircraft.” 

Posted by William Mackenzie Connect & Contact
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