September 20, 2021

Shield AI Selected for Competitive Phase of Air Force’s Golden Horde Vanguard Program 

V-BATs flying over ocean

Selection Will Enable Shield AI to Further Develop Collaborative Autonomy Capabilities 

SAN DIEGO, CA (September 20, 2021) – Shield AI, the defense-technology company using self-driving software to enable collaborative teams of UAS and aircraft to operate in GPS- and RF-denied environments, today announced it has been selected to compete in the U.S. Air Force Golden Horde Vanguard Program’s live and virtual competitive phase, sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) and Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL).  
  
“We’re excited to be contributing to one of the Air Force’s vanguard programs - AFRL and DIU are providing a fantastic opportunity for Shield AI to rapidly advance and field capabilities our warfighters need to win the fight tonight, and deter future conflicts” said Brandon Tseng, Shield AI co-founder and former Navy SEAL. 

The new phase will allow competitors to showcase technologies in a Golden Horde “Colosseum” encompassing software, hardware-in-the-loop and surrogate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to rapidly integrate, develop and test transformational networked, collaborative, and autonomous platforms. “Virtual competitions that identify the best gladiators allow rapid innovations to be tried out, almost as fast as the scientists and engineers can think of them,” says Col. Tony Meeks of AFRL.  

Shield AI’s recent acquisition of Heron Systems will help accelerate the development of tactics and behaviors generated from reinforcement learning techniques applied to scalable simulations. The initial Colosseum simulation event, will use a process similar to that of Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s AlphaDogFight Trials, which Heron Systems won 5-0 against an F-16 pilot and a number of other competing AI pilots, including major Defense Primes. 

Shield AI’s experience fielding AI and autonomy in combat environments and applying reinforcement learning (RL) for novel behaviors for aerial effects under Army programs, coupled with Heron Systems’ expertise in applying RL for air combat tactics, will result in transformational, next-generation capabilities for the Air Force.  

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Press Contacts 
Lily Hinz, media@shield.ai