Surveillance towers have been erected along the US-Mexico border
SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico – Federal agencies have turned to state-of-the-art cameras for surveillance of the southern border, developed by a virtual reality prodigy by creating an invisible border wall.
The high-tech surveillance towers known as Autonomous Surveillance Towers are powered by solar energy and use artificial intelligence to detect movement within a two-mile radius and send the information in real time to agents patrolling the area.
And they are now being installed in various locations along the nearly 2,000 mile border between the United States and Mexico.
“The ASTs are in remote locations that are difficult to get to,” Border Patrol agent Joel Freeland recently told the Post. “They work 24 hours a day and are environmentally friendly because they rely entirely on solar energy.”
The ASTs were developed by Palmer Luckey, the 28-year-old founder and designer of Oculus VR and Oculus Rift.
First tested in 2018 in the San Diego sector of the border, the towers were recently deployed in the El Paso sector, one of the busiest border crossings for migrants along the border.
Agents working in the El Paso Sector have arrested 155,892 people so far in fiscal 2021, which ends September 30, – nearly three times the 54,396 in fiscal 2020 as a whole.
“Most of ours [recent] Concern has emanated from this tower, “said Freeland, pointing to the El Paso Sector’s newest AST, which is located on a high, secluded scrub forest where the borders of Texas, New Mexico and the Mexican state of Chihuahua meet. The camera has only been in use for two weeks.
Officials did not want to give an exact number of how many errands there were thanks to the towers.
“The AST scans the environment with radar to detect movements, directs a camera to the location of the movement detected by the radar and analyzes the images with the help of algorithms in order to autonomously identify objects of interest such as people or vehicles,” says one Statement from the US Customs and Border Patrol that they plan to use 140 of the cameras to create a virtual wall along the border.
Luckey, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, markets the towers, which use a network of interconnected cameras and sensors, through Anduril Industries, the defense technology startup he founded in 2017.
Anduril did not respond to messages asking for comments.
Local Border Patrol agents said they were grateful to Luckey for the technology that complements the work of the thousands of agents deployed in green and white Border Patrol pickups and SUVs along the border. They keep an eye out for migrants and smugglers who usually cross the border under cover of darkness.
“Before the ASTs, agents could only monitor about a quarter of the area from their trucks,” Freeland said. “Now we can see everything.”
Luckey originally designed the Oculus VR system that worked in his parents’ California garage when he was in his late teens. The company he co-founded to build Oculus was sold to Facebook in March 2014 for $ 2 billion.
Luckey stayed to work with Facebook. But three years later, he went amid backlash after reports that he donated $ 10,000 to a pro-Trump group that created anti-Hillary Clinton memes. He later said in a Facebook post that he donated to the group because he thought they had “fresh ideas.”
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