Pooled development fund Strategic Elements (ASX: SOR) has announced a significant step forward for one its existing investees, Stealth Technologies – a company specialising in developing artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics products.
Stealth has signed an agreement with global Fortune 100 software-industrial company Honeywell to build “experimental autonomous robotic vehicles” with the move expected to deliver a flurry of software and hardware applications for a range of industries.
Honeywell is a US-based multibillion-dollar giant that delivers industry-specific solutions including aerospace products and services, control technologies for buildings and industry, as well as, high-performance materials.
The company operates a variety of units ranging from consumer products all the way through to top-tier military-grade equipment and hires almost 60,000 people worldwide.
The collaboration between Stealth Technologies and Honeywell is set for 12 months which will increase the Stealth’s ability to develop market-ready products for a range of customers.
“An enormous amount of effort over the past 10 months has grown the venture from conception to working with one of the world’s leading technology companies in Honeywell,” said Charles Murphy, managing director of Strategic Elements.
He explained that the team he oversees has been working to finalise a number of opportunities and that he is “looking forward to unveiling some highly innovative projects”.
Any material of intellectual property developed by Stealth Technologies will belong to Stealth. In addition Honeywell will make an initial payment of around A$100,000 to Stealth so the company begin to develop an experimental autonomous robotic vehicle
One of the more high-profile projects being explored by Stealth Technologies is “autonomous AI software” in the form of its very own “StealthOS”. The software is used in conjunction with autonomous mobile robots that are designed for specific actions and tasks in unpredictable environments, the company said.
The prime activities of autonomous mobile robots are navigation, mapping, localisation and movement with autonomous robots being used for inspection, transportation and surveillance activities.
Additionally, Stealth Technologies and Honeywell plan to create a plethora of solutions for military applications, industrial mining of metals, as well as, oil and gas, automotive, building and healthcare industries.
With specific relation to Honeywell, Strategic Elements said that Stealth Technologies would be using its StealthOS software to target “security-related applications” within the mining and defence sectors.
To ensure its development cycle is completed successfully, Strategic Elements said that Stealth Technologies now has an experienced in-house team of award-winning PhD and Masters qualified research engineers with deep capabilities in artificial intelligence, computer vision and robotics.
According to Mr Murphy, the team is “augmented” by members of Strategic Elements and key advisors who have strong commercial expertise in complex data analytics and software development with large multi-national corporates.
Stealth Technologies’ point of difference is its ability to combine both software and hardware expertise to obtain a “multi-disciplinary capability” that can develop custom-built automated robotic machines, integrated computer vision capabilities that enable computers to see, and, creating artificial intelligence through machine learning and software development.
One noteworthy point for shareholders and the company is that Strategic Elements is currently designated as a “pooled development fund” (PDF) by the Australian Federal Government.
PDFs raise capital and make equity investments in small and medium-sized (SMEs) enterprises after complying with a structure established under the Australian Government’s PDF Act, enacted in 1992.
Strategic Elements operates as what’s known as a “venture builder” whereby it generates ventures and projects from combining teams of leading scientists or innovators in the technology or resources sectors. This has purposely been designed as part of a “mandate to back Australian innovation”, being promoted by Australian authorities.
Companies with PDF status are taxed at 15% on their income and capital gains received from their investments. This compares favourably with the full company tax rate of 30% and the lower company tax rate of 27.5%. As a result of its designation, Strategic Elements shareholders are also exempt from tax on capital gains or dividends.
News of a tie-up between Stealth and Honeywell, helped to boost Strategic Elements’ share price by over 21%, with shares trading at $0.08 by late morning trade.