Modern Intelligence, a startup technology company, on Wednesday emerged from stealth mode with a $5 million funding round to help bring a new artificial intelligence (AI) based solution to the defense market for surveillance applications.
Cutlass, the name of the company’s AI product, is aimed initially at maritime domain awareness applications with plans to expand from there.
Modern Intelligence said its technology requires less data to learn to reliably recognize different vessels at sea and works with multiple existing sensors—including space-based—and command and control systems, making it platform independent.
“Defense has high standards for AI,” John Dulin, Modern’s CEO, said in a statement. “It needs explainability, reliability and high fidelity. So, we focus on building low data AI models that learn fundamental features rather than memorize them. This has the promise to solve all those problems at once.”
A video posted on the company’s website and YouTube shows how Cutlass works in action, fusing data from synthetic aperture radar aboard a satellite, electro-optic/infrared video on an unmanned aircraft system, an automatic identification system transponder on a ship, and passive acoustic and other sensors and feeds integrated data to whatever command and control system a user has to obtain situational awareness about a target.
The investment seed round was led by
Bedrock Capital with Vine Ventures, Air Street Capital, Contrary Capital, and Champion Hill Ventures.
The funding will be used for further research and to deliver and test Cutlass for users at the Naval Special Warfare Command’s Trident Specter exercise at Fort Story, Va., this July.
Modern also announced its advisory board, which includes former Defense Department Acquisition Chief Ellen Lord, Jacqueline Tame, former deputy director of DoD’s Joint AI Center, and Jason Yosinski, co-founder of Uber AI Labs, which is part of the ride-sharing company Uber [UBER].
“The Modern Intelligence team has leveraged neural network technology to develop uniquely dynamic AI that is quick to implement, needs minimal training and will deliver incomparable capability,” Lord said in a statement. “Working with the highly skilled business, technical and operational analysis teams in a quick-paced environment to apply AI to Department of Defense, intelligence community and homeland defense missions is an opportunity to contribute to our nation in many ways. I look forward to capturing contracts and executing multiple missions with Modern AI during 2022.”
Modern was founded in 2021 and is based in Austin, Texas.