Briefing

U.S. taps ‘virtual border wall’ startup to supplement patrols along the Mexican border

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Launched by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, Anduril Industries will see 200 of its unmanned towers along America’s southern flank by 2022, thanks to its five-year contract worth “several hundreds of millions of dollars” with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Supporters of the AI-powered technology see it as a cost-effective alternative to pricey (and arguably ineffective) border fortifications proposed by President Donald Trump. (The Washington Post)

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Talking point: Backed by Peter Thiel of Palantir fame, Anduril just scored another US$200 million in funding based on a US$1.9-billion valuation. Though it boasts some novel technology—battering-ram drone, anyone?—it remains one of the few small, Silicon Valley-based defence contractors in a sector dominated by the likes of Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon.