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Donald Trump might have ruined CES, but border technology still the talk of the town

Donald Trump’s government shutdown might have stopped several federal speakers from making an appearance, but one of his most controversial ideas is still generating hype.

The same technology used to stop self-driving cars turning into a brutal game of bumper cars, laser based detection software Lidar, could be repurposed to create a detection wall alongside the border between the US and Mexico.

This is the solution being pushed by Silicon Valley startup Quanergy Systems, who reckon that this virtual wall could be put in place far cheaper than a physical wall, and with less of an impact environmentally.

Louay Eldada, the chief exec and co-founder of Quanergy, said: “We offer a solution that is more capable than a physical wall, It can see day and night in any weather and can automatically track intruders, and give the GPS coordinates in real time to patrol officers.”

Quanergy Systems are already piloting the technology in small areas on the southern US border and also spots on the India/Pakistan boundary. Eldada reckons that this wall would cost somewhere between two or three percent of the cost of an actual physical wall. There’s no word on what Mexico’s estimated contribution would be.

It’s not the first time the U.S government has looked over the idea of an electronic fence between the two countries. A decade ago the plan was floated and then cancelled amid concerns over how effective the technology could be. However, it seems that the development of Lidar and the advancement of AI technology could make it feasible now.

It will be interesting to see if this technology can also be used to monitor trespass in other areas. It feels like a very science fiction solution to the issue of border control, although I confess it’s difficult to feel excited about a technology that’s being marketed to solve a problem that has been whipped up to stir up nationalism.

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