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Update: Sentient to provide sensors for Shield AI's V-BAT UAVs

Under a recently announced agreement, Australian company Sentient will provide its Visual Detection and Ranging system for Shield AI's V-BAT unmanned aerial vehicle (pictured) to enhance the surveillance capabilities of the platform. (Shield AI)

Australia's Sentient Vision Systems has signed an agreement with US-based Shield AI to provide its wide-area motion imagery (WAMI) system for the latter's V-BAT unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

Under the agreement, Sentient will supply its Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) system, which will work along with Shield AI's Hivemind artificial intelligence (AI) software to enhance the V-BAT's capabilities to “intelligently classify, track, and read-and-react to targets in dynamic missions”, the companies said in a media release on 23 October.

“The supply contract [secured by Sentient] is a multi-year, multi-units' agreement, with first deliveries planned for 2024,” Sentient's CEO, Mark Palmer, said.

Spokespersons from Sentient and Shield AI told Janes separately that the two companies will collaboratively integrate the ViDAR and Hivemind into the V-BAT UAVs for product market launch.

The companies expect the ViDAR to augment the V-BAT's “search coverage [capabilities] for larger maritime swaths”, the spokespersons said. This will help to provide “immediate situational awareness and more reaction time for decision making [to forces]”, the Sentient spokesperson added.

“We believe that WAMI will be an important component on future Shield AI aircraft as it will significantly increase the value proposition for customers by allowing small numbers of Group 3 sized aircraft to do the work of what traditionally took much larger, more expensive manned aircraft to accomplish,” the spokesperson for Shield AI said. According to the US Department of Defense (DoD), Group 3 sized UAVs weigh about 25–598 kg and operate below 18,000 ft mean sea level (MSL) at speeds of less than 463 km/h.

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