Red Cat Holdings, Inc. is a military technology company based in San Juan, Puerto Rico integrating robotic hardware and software. The company announced today that it has completed the second phase of its artificial intelligence and computer-vision partnership with Athena AI for its Teal 2 military-grade drone manufactured by Teal Drones, the Salt Lake City-based drone manufacturer.

Red Cat acquired Teal Drones in July 2021, as noted by TechBuzz. TechBuzz also announced the Teal Drones-Athena partnership in March 2023. Now, by processing video that the Teal 2’s thermal-imaging sensor recorded during a nighttime test flight, Athena’s technology has successfully performed target recognition and battle tracking (pictured). This capability allows commanders fast decision-making on the battlefield with artificial intelligence assistance. Teal 2 drones are manufactured in Teal Drone's factory in Salt Lake City.
“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.”

Australia-based Athena AI, 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, humans and other targets at night, as well as Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) markers, such as Cyalume HALOs and IR beacons. 

“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.”

Officially launched in April, the Teal 2 is designed to Dominate the Night™ and arrives as the world’s leading sUAS for night operations. The Teal 2 is the first 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. The Teal 2 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.

Red Cat and Teal Drones have also announced this week that the Teal 2 drone has received clearance from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to be designated as a Blue UAS. Blue UAS is an initiative of the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), the only DoD organization focused on accelerating the adoption of commercial and dual-use technology to solve operational challenges at speed and scale. This acceleration strengthens national security and helps grow the national security innovation base.
According to the DoD, Teal drones “are NDAA compliant, validated as cyber-secure and safe to fly, and are available for government purchase and operation.”
Both the Teal 2 and Teal Drones' previous model, the Golden Eagle, have passed the rigorous testing required for Blue UAS clearance. Currently, fewer than 20 drones are on the drones cleared list.

Red Cat will show the Teal 2 at the Modern Day Marine expo in Washington, D.C., June 27-29, 2023.

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