January 18, 2017
Smuggler in the Fog
Is this the only technology that could have found him?
Screen grab from IDENTICOPTER drone video American Border Patrol
Arizona non-profit spots border "suspect" in the fog
"Heroin is pouring across the border," President-elect Donald Trump told Fox and Friends this morning. This is happening despite billions spent on securing the border with Mexico.
For the last six years American Border Patrol has been testing a new technology called SEIDARM --- Seismic Detection and Ranging Mechanism --- on its border test range in Arizona.
Yesterday ABP used SEIDARM to try to find one person heading north from the border in the fog.
"We didn't set out to do this, but a planned test was being held up by the fog, so we decided to try to turn a lemon into lemonade," said Glenn Spencer, head of ABP.
A single person started at the border and headed north in the fog. SEIDARM detected him, and sent a "people red" alarm. At that moment a drone called IDENTICOPTER launched itself an followed a pre-programmed flight plan based on the sensor report.
As seen in the drone video IDENTICOPTER flew to the expected crossing point, and then turned south. It wasn't long before the "suspect" was seen on the computer screen at ABP's test headquarters (HQ).
The drone continued its pre-programmed flight plan and returned to base and landed automatically.
"We could have taken manual control and followed the suspect, but for safety reasons we allowed IDENTICOPTER to complete the mission profile," Spencer said.
According to Spencer, the SEIDARM/IDENTICOPTER system could be installed on the entire southern border in a matter of a few weeks at a fraction of the cost of a wall. "SEIDARM doesn't replace a physical barrier, but it can make sure it works," Spencer added.
(Contact ABP at 520-266-3443)