Tech

Border Patrol Wants Underground Robots With Virtual Reality Capabilities

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Matt M. Miller Contributor

Customs and Border Protection is looking to commission new robotic technology that can explore underground tunnels and other irregular terrains.

The agency is working alongside Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate to develop robots that can report detailed information from subterranean environments, according to Nextgov.

The Science and Technology Directorate released an information request on Monday seeking “technologies, products, and research evidence for information and planning purposes,” according to the document. (RELATED: Ocasio-Cortez Compares America’s Past To Nazi Germany, Says US Should Pay Reparations Like They Did)

“DHS S&T is seeking technologies that are offered as off-the-shelf solutions that enable communications in a robotics architecture that could be deployed in a wide range of border environments and missions,” the document continues.

The agency is looking for “off-the-shelf solutions” that are immediately ready for field application, ready to carry out “border environment investigations,” according to the document.

The document list 14 technical areas of interest for the project, including “virtual/augmented reality robot control interfaces,” and “autonomous navigation in known and unknown environments,” among others.

The agency has planned a demonstration and evaluation event showcasing the new technology, scheduled for August 5-10 in Arizona, the document says.

Contractor submissions responding to the information request will not be released for public consumption, but will remain under government jurisdiction, according to the document.

Border Patrol has employed the use of robotic technology in the past to explore tunnels in search of drug smugglers and illegal border crossers. The Associated Press reported in 2014 on Border Patrol agents utilizing much lower-tech versions of the robots they are asking for today.

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DHS and CBP were unavailable to comment at the time of publishing.

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