A California tech startup company is reportedly working on building a virtual wall to help with immigration enforcement along the U.S.-Mexico border, The Washington Post reports.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Thursday plans to set up hundreds of "autonomous surveillance towers" along the border. The towers use artificial intelligence and imagery to identify people and vehicles. CBP said by 2022, 200 of the towers would be set up along the southern border.
The newspaper reported that Anduril, a tech startup, is the company that will put the towers in place. The company is backed by investors including Peter Thiel.
Anduril executives told the Washington Post that the contract it secured is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
CBP officials said the towers use renewable energy and will do well in remote and rural locations.
The technology is said to use radar to detect movement. It does not use facial recognition. The system can alert Border Patrol agents of location information when it detects movement from vehicles or people. Anduril claims that the technology can distinguish between animals and humans 97% of the time.
Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said in a statement Thursday that the surveillance towers will give agents in the field "a significant leg up against the criminal networks that facilitate illegal cross-border activity.”
“The more our agents know about what they encounter in the field, the more safely and effectively they can respond," Scott said.
Matthew Steckman, Anduril’s chief revenue officer, told the newspaper that the company will continue to work on deploying the technology regardless of who is president.
President Donald Trump has prioritized immigration and spent billions of dollars tightening security along borders.
“No matter where we go as a country, we’re going to need to have situational awareness on the border,” Steckman said. “No matter if talking to a Democrat or a Republican, they agree that this type of system is needed.”
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