(PatriotWise.com) — The federal government is using high-tech surveillance monitoring towers, including some that use artificial intelligence, to erect a “virtual wall” along the southern border to reduce the surge in illegal crossings and drug smuggling, Axios reported.
While there have been surveillance towers along the border for several years, the technology in the new autonomous towers is better at detecting abnormal activity.
There are around 300 different styles of surveillance towers erected from the coast of California to the tip of Texas, according to the digital civil liberties group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The group has mapped the locations of the surveillance towers using public records, satellite photos, virtual reality, and physical inspection.
Officials with Customs and Border Patrol said the new autonomous technology is an asset in helping its agents do their jobs.
According to the CBP, more autonomous towers are coming.
The towers contain radars and sensors that can pan 360 degrees to scan the region for miles. Those outfitted with artificial intelligence software are capable of distinguishing humans from animals. The towers can also be programmed to block off certain areas from surveillance, like private homes on ranches, so they are not monitored.
Images from the surveillance are fed to the Border Patrol so agents can be deployed to areas where abnormal activity has been detected.
The solar-powered surveillance towers can be erected in a matter of hours without requiring concrete or drilling holes, meaning they can also be moved with little effort.
Dentons Global Advisors partner Jorge Guajardo told Axios that the surveillance towers are a better solution for monitoring the border than even constructing a border wall or having extra officers on horseback patrolling.
Guajardo said the “virtual wall” would not only be beneficial to the US but would also be something the Mexican government would “be agreeable to.”
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