Tech firms pitch border options

At Las Vegas’s famed Consumer Electronics Show, some vendors are suggesting alternatives to the Trump wall.

Quandergy Systems says its Lidar, a laser-based detection system used in some self-driving car prototypes, could be used on the border less expensively and more effectively than a physical barrier like a 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,” said Quanergy Systems exec Louay Eldada in a prepared statement. The company says the technology is being tested with pilot projects along the India-Pakistan border and a small section of the southern U.S. border. Another firm, Anduril, is working along similar lines.

A decade or so ago, when the technology was less advanced, the U.S. funded some work on a “virtual wall” by Boeing that used advanced cameras, radar and vibration sensors. In 2010, the project was halted by the U.S. because of unmet deadlines and the difficulty of using electronic gear in rugged terrain.

CNBC last month reported from Del Rio, Texas, on a prototype in use on the border and found that locals preferred the electronic surveillance techniques at work over a physical structure.

No cost figures were given on an electronic system. There is no word on whether Mexico would pay for it.