Teal Drones Partners with Athena AI on New Teal 2 Military Drone
Red Cat Holdings, Inc. is a a military technology company based in San Juan, Puerto Rico (formerly Hemet, CA) integrating robotic hardware and software for military applications. The company acquired Salt Lake City-based Teal Drones in 2021. This week Red Cat announced a collaboration with Athena AI as a computer vision partner for the new Teal 2 military-grade drone.
Brisbane, Australia-based Athena, an AI-enabled military decision-support company, has licensed to Red Cat its proprietary computer vision architecture, which allows high-speed tracking of objects and, at slower speeds, in-depth data exploitation. Athena’s solution can identify weapons and various other objects and poses at night, as well as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) markers, such as Cyalume HALOs and IR beacons (pictured right).
Athena has spent more than three years curating and analyzing military night-fighting footage, including thermal and low light camera systems, to create computer vision architecture for war-fighting after dark.
“The Teal 2 is a mission-focused military drone, and our partnership with Athena enables us to integrate the very latest computer vision technology,” says Red Cat CEO Jeff Thompson. “In military operations, every second counts, and Athena’s ability to track objects at night means our drone can deliver crucial intel to warfighters and commanders, providing rapid decision-making support.”
By integrating Athena’s technology, the Teal 2 (pictured left) can support Danger Close Fire Missions at night. The Forward Line of Own Troops (FLOT) can be detected, recognized and geo-located in comparison with the enemy, allowing for precision and safe fires on the target. Athena also supports rapid in-field target-set updates, with a turnaround as short as 72 hours for new target-detection algorithms. This allows the warfighter to quickly respond to emerging threats and ensure their kit remains in the fight.
As The Wall Street Journal reported on February 8, Ukrainian forces “lack enough drones to spot targets and direct artillery–especially more-expensive models with night-vision cameras that would allow them to work in the dark, when the Russians seek to creep forward.”
“Most military operations take place at night, and Athena is proud to help the Teal 2 ‘Dominate the Night™, by offering our computer vision architecture,” says Athena CEO Stephen Bornstein. “We’re also excited to showcase our tech to the global customer base that Red Cat has built on its reputation for exceptional products.”
In addition to Athena, Red Cat’s previously announced technology partners for the Teal 2 include Teledyne FLIR, Tomahawk Robotics, Reveal Technology and Immervision. The Teal 2 is the first sUAS to be equipped with FLIR's new Hadron 640R sensor, optimized for nighttime operations.
Red Cat has already filled an order from U.S. Customs and Border Protection for 54 units of the Teal 2. In February, a Red Cat delegation headed by Jeff Thompson also visited NATO countries to discuss how the Teal 2 can potentially help Ukrainian forces counter Russian forces when they’re most active–after dark.
A month ago, Utah Governor Spencer Cox visited Teal Drone's Salt Lake City headquarters, met with CEO and Founder, George Matus and his team, and piloted one of its drones. The visit was organized by the Utah Aerospace and Defense Association (UADA).