US-Mexico border: By creating an invisible border wall — the Feds have switched to cutting-edge cameras developed by Virtual Reality WonderKind to help monitor the southern border.
Hi-tech watchtowers, also known as autonomous surveillance towers, are powered by solar energy and use artificial intelligence to detect motion within a two-mile radius, sending information to agents patrolling the area in real-time.
And they are now being installed in various locations along the nearly 2,000-mile stretch of the US Mexico border.
“ASTs are hard to reach in remote locations,” Border Patrol agent Joel Freeland recently told The Post. “They operate 24 hours a day and are environmentally friendly because they are completely solar-powered.”
ASTs were developed by Palmer Lucky, a 28-year-old founder and creator of Oculus VR and Oculus Rift.
The towers, first tested in 2018 in the San Diego sector on the border, were recently implemented in the El Paso sector, one of the busiest crossing points for immigrants on the border.
Agents operating in the El Paso sector detained 155,892 people so far in the 2021 financial year, ending Sept. 30 – a total increase of nearly 54,396 over FY2020.
“Most of our [recent] fears came from this tower,” Freeland said, pointing to the newest AST of the El Paso sector sitting on a new remote patch of the highest patch sector where Texas, New Mexico, and the Mexican state meet the Chihuahua border. . The camera has only been working for the past two weeks.
Officials do not provide an exact number on how many concerns have been raised about the towers.
“AST scans the environment with radar to detect movement, directs the camera to the location of movement detected by radar, and analyzes images using algorithms to automatically detect objects of interest, such as people or vehicles,” according to a statement from Camera 140 to create a virtual wall across the border from US Customs and Border Patrol. Planning.
Lucky, a supporter of former President Donald Trump, is marketing towers that use a network of interconnected cameras and sensors through Anduril Industries, a defense technology startup he founded in 2017.
Andoril did not respond to messages requesting comments.
Border patrol agents on the ground said they were lucky thanks to the technology associated with the work of thousands of agents deployed across the border in green and white border patrol pick-ups and SUVs. They usually look for immigrants and smugglers who have passed in pursuit of darkness.
“Before ASTs, agents could only monitor a quarter of their area,” Freeland said. “Now, we can see everything.”
Luckey initially designed the Oculus VR system that worked in his parents’ California garage when he was a teenager. The company he co-founded to build Oculus was sold to Facebook in March 2014 for $ 2 billion.
Luckey continues to work on Facebook. But three years later, he went through setbacks after it was reported that he had donated $ 10,000 to a pro-Trump group that had created anti-Hillary memes. He later said in a Facebook post that he donated to the group because he thought “there are new ideas” in the group.