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AeroVironment, Inc. has acquired Progeny Systems Corporation’s Intelligent Systems Group (ISG), a leader in the development of AI enabled computer vision, machine learning and perceptive autonomy technologies and provider of related services to US government customers. The acquisition will significantly accelerate AeroVironment’s development of advanced autonomy capabilities for the company’s growing portfolio of intelligent, multi-domain robotic systems, increase customer-funded research and development revenue while broadening its advanced engineering services offering to defence and commercial customers. Under the terms of the transaction, AeroVironment acquired ISG for US$30M in cash and an earnout for Progeny Systems Corporation of up to US$6M over three years. This is based on the achievement of specific performance targets.

ISG to Complement AeroVironment

Founded in 2006, ISG performs research and development to create highly innovative machine learning, active perception and autonomy capabilities for Department of Defence and intelligence community customers. ISG’s software performs high-volume, automated analysis of still and video imagery from a broad spectrum of sources, including satellites, unmanned aircraft and fixed cameras, to detect specific objects, perform change detection assessment or discern “pattern of life” activity. With more than US$10M in fiscal year 2020 revenue, ISG is based in Manassas, Virginia and has 40 employees, all of whom are continuing in their current roles. The ISG team will merge with AeroVironment’s MacCready Works Advanced Solutions team to focus on expanding the company’s customer-funded research and development revenue, while adding critical expertise and capabilities to expand AeroVironment’s AI and autonomy portfolio.

The ISG facility in Virginia will now operate as AeroVironment’s new AI Innovation Centre. Here, the ISG team will collaborate with teams across AeroVironment to integrate cutting-edge technologies into the company’s growing offering and solution roadmap. For example, new AI and perceptive autonomy capabilities from ISG will enable AeroVironment’s unmanned systems to identify specific objects autonomously while performing their missions and either proceed with, or modify, those missions, based on the objects they detect. These new capabilities will increase the effectiveness of AeroVironment’s solutions, reduce the workload of their operators and improve their ability to operate in complex or contested environments, where GPS signals and radio frequency communication may not be reliable or available.

Jack Richardson