Smart Wall: an “economic” alternative to Trump’s wall

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The use of Artificial Intelligence, sensors and drones could replace the project of a concrete wall proposed by Donald Trump

Smart Wall, an "economic" alternative to the Trump Wall

The Democratic Party of the United States is seeking alternatives to the costly wall proposed by the current President Donald Trump, who since 2015 formulated a project to block the entry of illegal drugs and immigrants from Mexico, however, according to the New York Times, to build a wall of concrete and steel from 6 to 9 meters high would cost 21,600 million dollars and would take more than three years to complete, but the use of technology can decrease the value and be more effective.

Leer en español: Muro inteligente, una alternativa “económica” para el muro de Trump

"We have seen that the walls are often damaged by tunnels, or even be cut or scaled," Democratic Party Senator Peter Aguilar said in a statement collected by CNET. Because of this, the Democrats propose to make a "smart wall" consisting of drones, sensors, cameras, and X-rays, according to La Vanguardia, this would be the only way for Senate Democrats to approve the budget of 5.700 million dollars for border security.

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Each technological device that would be used in this intelligent wall has its function, for example, the sensors would allow broad monitoring perimeters, identifying people and differentiating them from animals, the Quanergy sensor company, presented its project that could be implemented at the border, Based on deploying 15,000 sensors to cover the 1950-mile border area, these sensors feature laser technology to determine the distance of targets, detect movement and display images with details of the targets, according to CNET.

Another sensor company such as Anduril also set out to provide its technology for border security in the United States, in this case, Anduril has already been tested by the border authorities for a period of 10 weeks, in which they could stop 55 illegal immigrants as well as confiscate 445 kilos of marijuana, according to Wired. In this case, Anduril used sensor towers, radars, laser cameras, and antennas, which serve to locate people in a perimeter of 2 miles away, also differentiating animals from people, according to CNET.


In the case of drones is not a new technology at the border, since the United States already has a fleet of 9 drones for this, however, it is proposed to increase the number of drones and equip them with better cameras, heat sensors and laser, like the drones that this country has already used in war zones to track terrorists, according to the New York Times. However, drones seem to be costly concerning their effectiveness, since according to CNET review, drones only increased arrests at the border by less than 1%, which translates into a cost of $ 32,000 for each capture, when the other catches without drones have an average of 9000 dollars for each one.

Artificial intelligence

On the other hand, there is Artificial Intelligence (AI), this technology is offered by companies such as Cogniac, which combines AI with cameras to identify people and objects in real time, in this way they could detect when an already recognized offender is in the border or the objects that it has, according to CNET. But the AI has received criticism for the violation of the privacy of people as well as the abuse that this can entail, since it could classify people in a discriminated way and be based on the prejudices of its programmer, according to the newspaper Panorama.

Read also: Trump vs. Democrats: Will there finally be a wall?

Now, the main argument that senators use to defend this smart wall is its cost, since, for example, the use of sensors across the border that Quanergy proposes has a value of 3.7 million dollars, which is less than 1 % of the price of the wall, according to CNET. As for the cost of implementing all these technologies on the border, Republican Senator Will Hurd said that the price per mile of a smart wall would be $ 500,000, while a physical wall implies an expenditure of between 18 and 24 million dollars. Dollars per mile reported the newspaper Panorama.


LatinAmerican Post | Juan Bacallado

Translated from "Muro inteligente, una alternativa “económica” para el muro de Trump"

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