PHOENIX - Spy technology once used in war is now moving into American airspace.
Sometimes called the “Floating Eye,” an unmanned blimp can capture crystal clear images on the ground, day or night, and it can see far more than the average drone.
The technology was used during combat for military surveillance to spot insurgents. These blimps are made by Logos Technologies of Arlington, Virginia. They could be the newest additions to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“This system is designed to take a movie of a city sized area, so it’s got cameras that are hundreds of megapixels that essentially take a picture once a seconds,” John Marion, Executive VP of Logos Technologies said.
It will be used by Border Protection to help catch drug runners and immigrants crossing illegally. It is already getting results.
In a recent test done in Nogales, the blimp stopped 122 undocumented immigrants and helped patrol agents uncover drug trails.
“They wanted to know how they got there, where they crossed the fence, how long they hid in each area, so we can go back and reconstruct that,” Marion said.
Images taken by the blimps can be stored for 30 days.
Logos Technologies say they are working on compression technology that could expand that time to a year or more making it a powerful tool when federal lawmakers are pushing to scale up security by adding more fencing and patrol agents along the border.
They also tell us they are still waiting to sign a contract with Customs and Border Protection.
Another tool being used for border surveillance is TARS- Tethered Aerostat Radar Systems. It is also a blimp, but stays tethered to the ground by a cable. The radar detects low-flying planes suspected of carrying drugs and other contraband into the U.S.
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