Fresh off its acquisition of Arcturus UAV, AeroVironment, Inc. [AVAV] on Wednesday said it has acquired a small business unit of Progeny Systems Corp. that develops artificial intelligence (A)-enabled technologies to advance and accelerate autonomy capabilities for the company’s robotic systems.
AeroVironment said the $30 million acquisition of Progeny’s Intelligent Systems Group (ISG) will also increase its customer-funded research and development and broaden its engineering services it offers to defense and commercial customers.
ISG, which is based in Manassas, Va., develops and provides AI-enabled “computer vision, machine learning and perceptive autonomy technologies” to its U.S. government customers, which include the intelligence community, AeroVironment said. “ISG’s software performs high-volume, automated analysis of still and video imagery from a broad spectrum of sources, including satellite, unmanned aircraft and fixed cameras, to detect specific objects, perform change detection assessment or discern ‘pattern of life’ activity,” it said.
AeroVironment is a leading developer and supplier of small, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for defense and commercial customers. The company also provides tactical missile systems and last week acquired Arcturus UAV for $405 million, adding medium-endurance UAS systems to its product portfolio.
AeroVironment said that ISG’s technology will help provide analytics solutions to its unmanned systems for autonomous object detection, allowing ongoing missions to be potentially modified, reducing operator workload and enhancing operations in electronically degraded environments.
“The ISG team is a leader in developing some of the most advanced artificial intelligence technologies and capabilities for United States government customers, including the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, Special Operations Command and Air Force,” Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Acquiring ISG will enhance the intelligence of our growing, multi-domain robotic systems portfolio, increase customer-funded research and development revenue and deepen our relationships with strategically important customers. Delivering higher-levels of intelligence and autonomy will improve the ability of our solutions to achieve customer mission objectives in permissive and anti-access, area-denied environments through onboard processing, exploitation and dissemination without requiring radio communication.”
AeroVironment is in the process of acquiring a German-based unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) developer and manufacturer for $45.4 million. The pending deal for Telerob will give AeroVironment a suite of all-terrain UGVs used in defense, homeland security and safety applications, and new customers.
ISG has 40 employees, all of whom have joined AeroVironment, and generated $10 million in sales in 2020. ISG is being merged with AeroVironment’s MacCready Works Advanced Solutions team to help expand customer-funded R&D and accelerate and expand the company’s work on AI-enabled technologies.
ISG’s facility in Virginia is now AeroVironment’s Artificial Intelligence Innovation Center.
Terms of the acquisition include a $6 million earnout provision for Progeny over three years if ISG meets specific performance targets. Neither AeroVironment nor Progeny used financial advisers on the deal.