How Lasers Could Offer A High-Tech Alternative To Trump’s Border Wall

Border wall construction along Mexico-U.S. border.
Mario Tama / Getty Images

As the political standoff over President Donald Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border continues to paralyze government, one California-based company have proposed a high-tech solution that could provide a more affordable and environmentally-friendly alternative.

Quanergy Systems, a start-up company, recently revealed its Lidar-based system at CES in Las Vegas and according to the Daily Mail, the system could inform U.S. authorities whenever someone crosses the border without the need for a physical barrier.

Lidar stands for “light and radar” and is a system which uses ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light to map objects in high resolution. Quanergy Systems is one of several companies that is working on applying this technology to border security.

The system is already used on parts of the U.S.A’s southern border as well as on another highly contentious international border between India and Pakistan.

According to the chief executive and co-founder of Quanergy Systems, the system would cost just a fraction of the price of Trump’s border wall. Louay Eldada told the Daily Mail he envisaged the price would be as little as 2 or 3 percent of the estimated costs of the wall and would also deliver many other benefits too.

“We offer a solution that is more capable than a physical wall,” he explained. “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.”

President Trump's Oval Office address on the border wall
  Carlos Barria-Pool / Getty Images

There are also clear environmental benefits from turning to technology rather than constructing a physical barrier.

“A barrier is an eyesore and it intrudes on the environment, it impedes the flow of wildlife,” Eldada explained. By using Lidar technology, there would be no visible barrier and no impact on the local environment.

Lidar also has the potential to cut down on manpower costs associated with the border wall, too. Because this system would give GPS coordinates in real time, there would be no need for officers to be patrolling the border. Instead, they could just the intelligence from the Lidar system to head to the exact places where the border has been breached.

Mr. Eldada even suggested that the technology could predict when someone was about to cross the border illegally.

“With the long range of Lidar, you detect things before they get to the perimeter,” he explained. “We can get very high-resolution images, and look at someone’s behavior… This allows you to see how each person is moving and have a good idea of whether it’s a patrol officer or someone about to cross illegally.”

After the president’s public address from the Oval Office yesterday and the Democrat’s immediate rebuttal, there is no end in sight to either the political standoff or the government shutdown. Perhaps Lidar technology could offer a way forward.