ETV’s KeenAI™ Military Application Aims to Protect Deployed Troops

Deborah and Eugene “Cliff” Hudson envisioned safeguarding troops in military operations when they founded Emerging Technology Ventures (ETV) in 2014. Cliff had worked in autonomous systems development before retiring as a civilian engineer at the Department of Defense and Navy Reserve where he saw firsthand how robotics and sensing analytics could improve and support infrastructure used in critical wartime military operations. The couple also knew that nascent technologies could help agricultural producers on the farms near their home in Alamogordo.

ETV is a woman-owned, HUBZone small business focused on providing integrated sensing and artificial intelligence (AI) analytics for complex inspection and monitoring of systems located on the ground, in the air, on the water, and in space. One example of ETV’s capabilities is its patent-pending KeenAI™ technology that senses crop threats – including pests, disease, and nutrient issues – to quickly warn agriculture producers so they can minimize environmental and ecological impacts while lowering production costs.

Deborah handles the business side, such as managing complicated contracts and HR for the company’s 16 employees, while Cliff focuses on technology development and KeenAI, the company’s proprietary technology. Headquartered in Alamogordo, ETV also has an office at the Genesis Center on the campus of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, where it engages student engineers who learn by interning at the company and often become full-time employees when they graduate.

The Department of Defense recognized the value ETV could offer for aircraft inspections, as did NASA for inspection of critical infrastructure. Since 2022, ETV has been working through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) process of government-supported research and development to create prototype systems that meet the performance requirements of strategic government applications.  The interactive creative process of continual testing and refinement intrinsic to SBIR will soon culminate in full-scale manufacturing and additional contracts for the company.

Government contracts utilize specific requirements and reporting that ensure the security of information and systems and account for taxpayer money. As ETV developed its technology, it needed help understanding how to meet DoD and NASA’s heightened cyber security protections and the recently mandated Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC ) to protect networks, data transmission, and control of hardware inventory. That’s when ETV turned to New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership for assistance.

New Mexico MEP is a nonprofit organization that helps businesses transform their operations to increase productivity and profit. One way it does this is by helping businesses understand and implement procedures and processes, such as ISO registration, cybersecurity compliance, and contract accounting that are mandated by government agencies and the private sector businesses that serve them.

New Mexico MEP Innovation Director Denise Williams worked with ETV to meet the newest CMMC security standards. Inventory control software was acquired and configured according to Defense Contract Audit Agency requirements. A System Security Plan was implemented to ensure the protection of materials and data during contract performance.

Before KeenAI™ could be used on government networks, ETV also needed an approved Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) assessment to pursue Authority to Operate across the deployed government networks. With the help of New Mexico MEP, ETV acquired the front-end assessment with the required documentation without diverting critical labor and resources away from its core task of preparing KeenAI to be integrated into government applications.

New Mexico MEP’s assistance also enabled ETV to pursue supplier relationships with other government contractors like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon.

With the cumulative assistance it received, ETV has saved more than $115,000 in labor costs and precious time that would have taken staff from technology development. It has increased revenue by more than $1.2 million and anticipates $3 million when production brings in additional contracts. The company added 4 jobs in a rural area of New Mexico and expects to add four more.

“Three years ago we had 12 employees,” said Cliff, who now counts 16 staff members. “We work with interns quite heavily so that when they graduate, they can work with us full-time. Two graduated in March and two more are starting this summer. So that’s four on the horizon for us.”

The company’s association with New Mexico MEP has been a valuable strategic relationship, according to Cliff.

“Denise spends the time to understand our issues, our workflow, and then she looks for opportunities for how we can improve systems. If you don’t do that front-end work, you’re not really prepared to help a company. And Denise is outstanding in doing that front-end work to make the engagement so beneficial for us,” he said.

“We really appreciate her diligence.”

For more information about the work of ETV, visit To learn about the services offered by New Mexico MEP, contact us.