Skip to main content

Magic Leap, Microsoft and others said to be bidding on AR army combat contract

The Magic Leap Creator's Edition AR headset

    image source: Magic Leap

Florida based Magic Leap, The AR hardware manufacturer valued at $6.3 billion from a most recent funding round and also known for a release of its first developer focused AR hardware of its first Creator's Edition augmented reality headset just last month has now been reported to be pushing to land a contract with the U.S. Army for development of AR  devices for soldiers to make use of in combat missions.

As per Bloomberg, The contract which could see the military purchasing up to 100,000 headsets as part of an initiative whose total cost could exceed $500 million is also being talked up with tech giant Microsoft.

The program currently known as HUD 3.0 (HUD standing for “heads up device”) is said to have been stirred for years in the armed forces with preparations being made for what entails a construction of a physical headset made to overlay digital images in the physical world in addition to a software platform to be used for both training and live combat.

Details concerning this program are available on a series of documents placed on a publicly available site for military contractors.





Microsoft's AR product HoloLens pictured here can be used for tasks across vast utility fields

Microsoft

Although Magic Leap itself doesn't appear on the public list of attendees for meetings held early last month by the U.S. Army with 25 companies interested in participating in some way, a company named MLH with a website mlhorizons.com was at the meeting. Chosen Realities, a firm quietly acquired by Magic Leap filed paperwork to operate in Florida as ML Horizons with a form dubbed as “an application for registration of fictitious name.”

ML Horizons share the same address with Magic Leap which likely implies affiliation with the company. As per the Bloomberg report, 3 people with knowledge of the procedure state of widespread perception of Magic Leap being the favorite for the contract. These 3 asked to stay anonymous to avoid alienating the military and retaliatory action by Magic Leap.

If all these comes as true, It'll mark a notable turnaround for the major AR players focusing their efforts on consumer hardware which sometime prove difficult, Even with these, Military contracts are known to stir up controversy for companies with several hassles faced in the past by the likes of Google, Amazon and other tech giants concerning use of its tech for warfare.

This June, Google had to put a stop to its military drone AI program after backlash from employees and media outlets alike concerning use of its tech for military operations. This represents a kind of hurdle tech companies often face concerning operation of military contracts.

In addition to Magic Leap, Other attendees for the meetings include Microsoft as stated, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton Holding.

As of now, No official info has been made surrounding this program leaving space for speculation and reports concerning the companies involved in the contract process. Nevertheless, a contract like this would come as a surprise for various persons who might get perplexed after going through technical requirements for AR devices intended for use in this program.

The AR devices would need to be suited for intense environments and circumstances to enable military use which although can be developed comes as quite way beyond normal consumer tech geared for creative, fun and indoor environments for best use.


Comments

Most Read Posts

Meet goPuff, A Low-key Delivery Company Worth $1 Billion

The food-delivery market is one with intense competition. The likes of DoorDash, Uber Eats, Postmates, Deliveroo, Swiggy, Just Eat, Yelp Eat 24, and more are steadily competing for global market share while also raising huge funding. Just recently, Deliveroo raised $575 million in a round led by Amazon. DoorDash has also raised $600 million Series G funding at a $12.6 billion valuation.

Amid the intense battle, it turns out there's one hot startup that has stayed low key to avoid the eye of rivals, but it seems word is getting out. That low-key hot startup is goPuff, an on-demand delivery service that was valued at $1 billion last November (after an investment), according to regulatory filings reviewed by The Information. goPuff ships products to customers from centrally located facilities -- as opposed to direct pickup from stores -- in 81 U.S. cities.


The company -- based in Philadelphia -- stocks more than 3,000 products at its facilities which it then ships to customers who o…

Uber Said To Be In Talks To Acquire Foresight

According to a report from The Information, Uber is in advanced talks to acquire the team behind Foresight, a San Jose-based startup that develops simulation software for self-driving car prototypes. The report made no mention of the deal terms.

Foresight is quite the low-key startup, with its website containing substantial information on its core product but minuscule information about its team. Even Crunchbase spots little information about the company, with no mention of any investment or its team. However, Foresight's website mentions its CEO by name of Chang Yuan. A simple search led to a LinkedIn profile that indicates Yuan formerly worked at the likes of Microsoft, Lenovo, Amazon and Apple. His LinkedIn profile indicates he spent more than two years at Apple before leaving to start Foresight two years ago.

An acquisition, or moreover an acqui-hire, after two years doesn't sound far-fetched. Uber pulled a similar move earlier this year when it acquired Mighty AI, a Seat…

Ola Cabs gets $50 million round at $4.3 billion valuation

Indian ridesharing and mobility services company Ola Cabs has raised $50 million in funding from from 2 new Chinese investors, Sailing Capital and the China-Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund (CEECF) with a valuation of $4.3 billion as disclosed in regulatory documents scoured by Paper.vc and reviewed by Indian publication Mint.

Both investors will hold a combined stake of more than 1% in Ola according to Mint's report.

This funding comes as at when Ola is taking on expansion into new markets with announced plans to launch soon in the U.K in addition to launching its service in Australia early this year.

Ola is reportedly in talks to raise as much as $1 billion even after hefty funding from the likes of Softbank and Tencent to boost its cash hoard as it takes on costly competition in the ridesharing market.






The firm has raised well over $2 billion across several rounds with a recent $225 million notable investment from Singaporean investor Temasek which provided exits for early i…

TikTok Chief To Meet With U.S. Lawmakers

As first reported by the Washington Post, TikTok chief Alex Zhu is set to make a trip to Washington to meet with U.S. lawmakers in an effort to tackle concerns of privacy, security and censorship risks emanating from the app's Chinese origins. Such trip would indicate efforts by TikTok to maintain its spike in popularity at a time when U.S.-China relationships are strained and U.S. officials are cautious about Chinese companies gaining foothold in U.S. markets where domestic companies have long dominated.

Such a trip could also see TikTok's head Zhu, who is based out of Shanghai, face some of the app's biggest critics, in the form of U.S. lawmakers. The Washington Post reports Zhu has sought a meeting with senators Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley, each of whom have questioned TikTok's independence from Chinese influence. Zhu is also said to be planning to meet with senator Marsha Blackburn, who has pushed for TikTok to better protect children online in regard…

Slack Records $135 Million Q1 Revenue

Slack -- on its way to an IPO -- has made changes to its S-1 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, indicating its financial results for the first quarter of this year. The company's filing shows $134.8 million in Q1 2019 revenues, up 67% from the same period last year, but with losses of $31.8 million for this year's first quarter.

In comparison, Slack recorded $80.9 million in Q1 last year amid $24.8 million in losses. For the fiscal year ending January 31, 2019, Slack recorded revenues of $400.6 million amid $138.9 million in losses. The updated Q1 results indicate quite impressive growth and lower losses when compared as a percentage of total revenue.

Slack is getting ready for a direct listing on The New York Stock Exchange, where it'll trade under the ticker "WORK", in respect to its popularity as a workplace collaboration tool.



CuriosityStream Hits 10.5 Million Paying Subscribers

CuriosityStream, a streaming service founded by former Discovery chairman John Hendricks, has announced it has eclipsed 10.5 million subscribers, the count not including registrants who are under free trial. The announcement happens to come at a time media houses are debuting individual streaming services to better control their content and compete with streaming incumbent Netflix.

CuriosityStream happens to have drawn a high number of subscribers while being quite low-key in comparison to other newer streaming services. The streaming service, which focuses on subjects like science and nature, attributes its subscriber growth to bundled partnerships with already established cable distributors, a playbook newer streaming services can draw from. CuriosityStream has established partnerships with cable distributors across several countries, for example Altice USA and Suddenlink in the U.S., Airtel in India, and Multichoice’s DStv across Africa. The partnerships involve the distributors i…

Nikola Raises $250 Million At A $3 Billion Valuation

Nikola, a formerly Utah but now Phoenix-based manufacturer of hydrogen-electric vehicles, has courted a $250 million Series D investment out of a targeted $1 billion raise. CNH Industrial, one of the world's largest capital goods companies, made the investment at a $3 billion pre-money valuation. The $250 million figure actually comprises of $100 million in cash and $150 million in services like product development, manufacturing engineering, and other forms of technical assistance that CNH will provide to Nikola.

CNH Industrial owns FPT Industrial, a leading manufacturer of powertrains for large vehicles, and Iveco, a leading manufacturer of heavy trucks. These two firms will provide strategic expertise for Nikola, which is known mainly for its hydrogen-electric (fuel cell) trucks. Iveco and FPT will provide engineering and manufacturing services to industrialize Nikola’s fuel-cell powered electric trucks, under the terms of CNH's investment. For example, Nikola has made pla…

Cisco Reportedly Held Acquisition Talks With HashiCorp

According to a piece from The Information, Cisco -- an active buyer of tech startups and companies -- held preparatory talks to acquire HashiCorp, a company valued at $1.9 billion whose software manages applications that run on multiple cloud providers. But the deal appears to have not proceeded very far. Although there's no word on why the discussions derailed, one theory could be the price Cisco would have to pay which would likely be a good premium to its recent $1.9 billion valuation.

HashiCorp is one of the top cloud infrastructure startups out there with impressive statistics. These include:
$174 million total funding. More than 300 employees.Partnerships with leading cloud providers like AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, Alibaba Cloud, and VMware.45 million downloads of its open source products in 12 months (leading up to November 2018).More than 50 of the Fortune 500 and over 100 of the Global 2000 are paying customers.Big name customers like Cruise Automat…

Gett Closes Shop In NYC

Gett, a Volkswagen-backed Israeli ride-hailing company, has announced an already effective closure of its New York rideshare business, Juno. As part of the closure, Gett is transferring its corporate clients in the U.S. to Lyft's ride-hailing network, thanks to a strategic partnership between both companies. Corporate customers in the U.S. will still be able to book rides on Gett's app, but will be matched with drivers on Lyft instead of Juno from now on.

Gett says Juno's closure reinforces its strategy to "build a profitable company focused on the corporate transportation sector". The Tel-Aviv based company also partly blames Juno's closure on recently enacted NYC regulations in the ride-hailing sector, or to quote the company; "the enactment of misguided regulations in New York City earlier this year".

Gett shutting down a business it acquired for $200 million two years ago seems like quite a hit, but isn't so jolting given reports of an IPO …

The Salesforce Mafia

You may know the PayPal Mafia, the group of ex PayPal founders and employees who have gone on to make big strides in the tech world. Elon Musk launched SpaceX and has led Tesla from a small startup to one with $21.4 billion revenue in 2018, Max Levchin launched Affirm which recently nabbed $300 million in funding at a $2.9 billion valuation, Peter Thiel launched Palantir which may go public soon and recently landed an $880 million contract with the US Army, Reid Hoffman launched LinkedIn which sold to Microsoft for $26 billion, and many more.

It turns out the many success stories spurned out of PayPal has been replicated in some places, one notable one being Salesforce, the cloud software company led by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff and a co-CEO Keith Block. Salesforce alumni have launched successful companies like Veeva Systems, Okta, Zuora, Rocket Fuel, G2 Crowd, and Duetto. Veeva Systems, Okta, and Zuora have IPOed in the billions and currently trade at a combined market ca…