Red Cat Holdings, a military technology company integrating robotic hardware and software to protect and support the warfighter, has completed the second phase of its artificial intelligence and computer-vision partnership with Athena AI.
First announced as a partner for Red Cat’s Teal 2 military-grade drone in March 2023, Athena AI has now processed video that the Teal 2’s thermal-imaging sensor recorded during a nighttime test flight to successfully perform target recognition and battle tracking. According to the companies, this capability allows commanders fast decision-making on the battlefield with artificial intelligence assistance.
Athena has licensed its proprietary computer-vision architecture to Red Cat to enable high-speed tracking of objects and, at slower speeds, in-depth data exploitation. Athena’s solution can identify weapons, humans and other targets at night, as well as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) markers, such as Cyalume HALOs and IR beacons.
Teal 2 is designed for nighttime operations, and is the first small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) to be equipped with Teledyne FLIR’s new Hadron 640R sensor, providing end users with the highest resolution thermal imaging in a small form factor. It also offers the latest Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) technology, delivering time-critical information and enabling operators to make faster, smarter decisions.
The Teal 2 airframe has been designed as an open platform that can add software features such as Athena AI, and those combined products improve Red Cat’s gross margins.
“Nighttime computer-vision capability is a Teal 2 add-on we support for users who need high-value data at night,” said George Matus, founder and CEO of Red Cat subsidiary Teal Drones. “The images and insights that Athena’s technology deliver are outstanding. Athena’s battle-tracking capabilities and artificial intelligence, combined with Teal’s best-in-class drone, give warfighters the unfair advantage.”
“Unlike a lot of other drones in the sUAS quad space that aren’t MISB-compliant, the Teal 2’s KLV metadata unlocks the full decision-suite support of Athena AI,” said Athena CEO Stephen Bornstein. “This combination of a nighttime sUAS with live-vehicle metadata allows for real-time situational awareness to support battle tracking, Common Operational Picture (COP) at higher echelons of command, and accurate targeting.”