Helsing, the start-up that dreams of Palantir of military AI – Teller Report

A festival. For the past few days, the German start-up Helsing, a specialist in military artificial intelligence, has been doing its market in the small French aeronautics and defense community. She announced on October 6 the appointment at the head of the French subsidiary of the former head of digital at Airbus, Marc Fontaine, and the ex-Palantir France Antoine de Braquilanges, respectively as president and as general manager. On October 10, it was the turn of General Denis Mercier, former head of the Air Force and ex-Supreme Allied Commander for NATO transformation, to join the strategic committee of the Berlin company. Helsing has since recruited an AI specialist from the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA), Mattis Paulin. The company multiplies the appointments with French decision-makers, from the armies to the DGA, on the sidelines of the Euronaval show, the great naval defense meeting which is held from October 18 to 21 at Le Bourget. Objective: first contracts signed quickly with the French forces.

What is Helsing the name of? Difficult to get a precise idea, as the company is discreet about its activity. Founded in 2021 in Berlin, the start-up has so far made itself known above all for its XXL fundraising of 102.5 million euros in November 2021including 100 million contributed by the Prima Materia fund of the Spotify founder Daniel Ek, when it had neither product nor customer yet. Its business is more mysterious, because it is very specific: the company develops AI technology installed directly in military equipment (armoured vehicles, helicopters, drones, ships, etc.). “Our specificity is that our AI is on board military platforms, explains Marc Fontaine in an interview with Challenges. This technology allows real-time AI analysis, closer to the combatant, which is an essential asset for preserving the operational superiority of European armies.”

Identification of the enemy

The applications of Helsing’s AI are multiple, assures the group: help in the identification of the enemy, which makes it possible to neutralize it more quickly; support for field operators, relieved of the analysis of multiple flows of tactical information; real-time exchange of information between platforms: an armored vehicle assisted by the AI ​​can designate a target to another, which will take care of firing the armament. Two types of products would already be ready, indicates the group: an ISR solution (Intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance), embedded on the optronic balls of drones or helicopters for example; and a solution dedicated to electronic warfare (detection of the adversary’s electromagnetic emissions).

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Helsing, the start-up that dreams of Palantir of military AI – Teller Report


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