Boeing to collaborate with defence tech firm on AI for defence programmes

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Aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing and defence technology company Shield AI are set to collaborate on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and autonomy for current and future defence programmes. According to a statement released by Boeing on Wednesday (March 8), the two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding “to explore strategic collaboration in the areas of autonomous capabilities and artificial intelligence”. 

The agreement, signed at the Air Force Association Warfare Symposium in Colorado, will be managed by Boeing Phantom Works. Steve Nordlund, vice president and general manager for Boeing’s Air Dominance organisation, said on Wednesday that the company has continued to leverage “talent from across the enterprise to make great strides in autonomous capabilities and programmes in recent years.”

Nordlund added the collaboration with Shield AI would accelerate Boeing’s ability to deliver these capabilities to the warfighter. 

According to Wednesday’s statement, Shield AI has created Hivemind, an artificial intelligence pilot that has flown a variety of aircraft. The defence technology said the AI pilot can enable swarms of drones and aircraft to operate autonomously without GPS, communications or a human pilot in the cockpit. 

Shield AI’s President and Co-founder Brandon Tseng that an AI pilot is the most strategic deterrent technology since the introduction of stealth aircraft and has proven successful in flying air-combat scenarios. Tseng, a former Navy SEAL, said that integrating Boeing aircraft with his company’s AI pilot would redefine what large aircraft, crewed or uncrewed, could do. 

“As the world leader in aerospace technology, Boeing has been exceptionally easy to engage with, so we are excited to expand our scope of work to co-develop, productise and bring to market the world’s best AI pilot for large aircraft,” Tseng added. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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