Border Patrol Begins AST Deployments in El Paso Sector

The Border Patrol in August began deployments of Autonomous Surveillance Towers (ASTs) in its El Paso Sector in West Texas and New Mexico and plans to eventually install another 13 of the artificial intelligence-enabled systems in the sector. All the ASTs are expected to be operational by the end of 2021. The towers are mobile and can be relocated, and are fully powered by solar energy. ASTs are supplied by Anduril Industries

. “Autonomous Surveillance Towers are just one piece of the overall effort to identify and classify who and what is entering the United States illegally between port of entry,” says Gloria Chavez, chief Border Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector. Through June 19 of 2020, the Border Patrol had deployed 124 ASTs, mostly along the southern border in Texas and California. In addition to the ASTs, the El Paso sector said its employs Remote Video Surveillance Systems, Mobile Video Surveillance Systems, motion detection sensors and other systems for border security. “The new Autonomous Surveillance Towers will help agents to effectively identify and locate migrants entering illegally into the United States,” the El Paso Sector said.

NIST Selects Winners in National First Responder UAS Endurance Challenge

A two-year challenge that brought together developers of drones to meet public safety requirements has resulted in four entries being selected for awards. First place, worth $100,000, went to Advanced Aircraft Company, second place, worth $40,000 went to Intelligent Energy Ltd., and third place was Penn State’s Autonomous Robotics Competition Club, winning $20,000. For the challenge, the teams designed, built and flew an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) carrying a 10-pound payload for as long as possible. The challenge was hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which says that the public safety community doesn’t have access to UAS capable of carrying a heavy payload for 90 minutes. In the challenge, AAC’s drone surpassed 112 minutes of flight time for Federal Aviation Administration Part 107 drone flights, which weigh less than 55-pounds.

InVeris Acquires Training Solutions Provider SURVIVR

InVeris Training Solutions in late August said it acquired SURVIVR, a provider of a virtual reality training system for law enforcement and security services, adding its solution suite for virtual reality-decisions and tactics (VR-DT) for law enforcement and military customers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Dallas-based SURVIVR’s customers include the U.S. Air Force Security Services. “SURVIVR’s premier virtual reality police training system and patented technology complements recent research and development by InVeris,” says Al Weggeman, CEO of InVeris. “It will be incorporated into our VR-DT solution to expand future capabilities. All police forces, large and small, urban and rural, need and deserve the most realistic, effective training.”

Savi Files for Bankruptcy; Will Focus on Defense Customers

Supply chain tracking company Savi Technology has decided to close its commercial software business and file for bankruptcy to better enable it to restructure and focus on its government contracts. News of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was first reported by Washington Business Journal, which said the company is more than $2.5 million in debt to its largest creditors. Savi supplies radio frequency-based technology and related software to track logistics and supply chain movements for its customers. The Northern Virginia-based company’s products include tags, readers, satellite communications and portable deployment kits. Savi is the only awarded on the Defense Department’s $42 million active RFID V contract and has been supplying the department with RFID technology for decades to track the location and condition of in-transit supplies and equipment.