London, January 9 (ANI): If scientists have their way, then robot border guards would be patrolling the frontiers in the near future.
Amid the ever-present angst over illegal immigration, cross-border terrorism and contraband smuggling, some nations are turning to novel border-surveillance technologies, potentially backed up by robots.
According to a report in New Scientist, the idea is to scatter arrays of sensors in a border area in ways that give guards or robots plenty of time to respond before their targets make good an escape.
The need to secure borders is evident across the globe, from India, which is constructing a 3400-kilometre, 3-metre-high barbed-wire and concrete border wall to close itself off from Bangladesh, to Libya, where foot patrols are being augmented with new people-sensing technologies.
Libya has an agreement with the European Union to try to limit the flow of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa traversing its borders before crossing the Mediterranean and entering Italy.
To help it enforce this deal, Libya is spending 300 million euros on technology for what it calls a "large border security and control system", made by Selex Sistemi Integrati, part of Italian aerospace firm Finmeccanica.
Selex says its command, control and communication technology will include all the computers and software necessary to make sense of the data gathered by a raft of different sensors on the Libyan border.
Elsewhere, the US Department of Homeland Security, along with Boeing Intelligence and Security Systems, is fielding sensors on the border with Mexico, in an 8 billion dollars project called the Secure Border Initiative network.
SBInet will eventually comprise some 400 25-metre-high towers similar to cellphone masts and containing an array of remote-controlled optical and infrared cameras.
The towers will also carry a primary sensor designed to detect humans.
This sensor is a 10-gigahertz, or "X-band", ground surveillance radar made by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in Tel Aviv.
The towers will be dotted along the US's 3000-kilometre triple-layered border fence.
The radar will supplement acoustic and vibration sensors strewn around the border zone that pick up voices and footfalls, and will provide patrols with early warning of activity in the border area - as far as 10 kilometres from the fence.
The idea is that robotic cameras will zoom in automatically on any activity detected by radar or sensors. (ANI)