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ARTIFICIAL intelligence and airships could be brought in to defend the United States border with Mexico

US-Mexico border to be policed by artificial intelligence in high-tech new patrols
ARTIFICIAL intelligence and airships could be brought in to defend the United States border with Mexico as Donald Trump insists on a wall to stop illegal immigrants.


Grants have been awarded to agencies to come up with a formidable arsenal


A beastly set of new algorithms, surveillance, artificial intelligence and technology including drones and airships are being considered to protect the US’ border with Mexico.


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During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign he was vocal in his disdain for their southern neighbour, repeatedly pledging to build a wall to keep people out.


Despite running into difficulties getting his project off the ground - and Mexico refusing to pay for it - grants have been awarded to agencies to come up with a formidable arsenal to police the massive border.


The US has already expanded its surveillance technologies along the 1,900-mile border, but as it becomes ever more challenging new methods are being explored.


Systems and industrial engineers at the University of Arizona are constructing a new method for policing the border - by using artificial intelligence.


Young-Jun Son, professor and head of the UA Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering and principal investigator of the project, said his team was creating a new framework based on realistic computer simulations, which would integrate data from multiple sources in real time.


Mr Son said: "Our goal is to devise a system to most effectively, efficiently and safely deploy border patrol resources.”
Donald Trump: Mexico wall may be a solar wall to save money


Mr Son’s team was recently given a £578,000 ($750k) grant from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research to devise and build an autonomous surveillance system designed for land and aerial vehicles monitoring the border.


But state-of-the-art technology does not come cheap, with some unnamed aerial crafts costing up to £13.88m ($18m) each.


Mr Son and his co-principal investigator, UA associate professor Jian Liu, are using the funds to give the US Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection unit a comprehensive overview of the challenges they face - and solutions.


The team is strategising a ruthless system which ordinates UAVs with teams on the ground, ensuring no one makes it over the border.


They are creating a autonomous surveillance system designed for land and aerial vehicles


Research collaborator, Sara Minaeian, said: "A major task of unmanned vehicles in patrol missions is to detect and find their targets' locations in real time.


"This can be challenging for many reasons: for example, the surveillance vehicles and targets are all moving, and the landscape's uneven nature may alter how targets appear."


Homeland Security has used drones - equipped with radar - since 2005.


The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) can reach altitudes of 100ft or higher, and cover vast distances quickly.


And to sniff out any drones the enemy may be using to work out the route with least surveillance, aerostats, a type of unmanned airship, will be included in Mr Son’s security plans.


He said: “Once we have detected, located and identified our targets of interest, we must decide which vehicles to deploy, and how many of each, to best meet objectives while considering tradeoffs of performance, cost and safety.


"For example, to track a group of people moving in mountainous areas under clear blue skies, the optimal solution might be to deploy six UAVs and two trucks driven by border patrol agents; whereas for monitoring a group of the same size traveling in an urban area on a cloudy day, two UAVs and six ground patrol vehicles might be more effective."


The AI element kicks in through a series of complex algorithms devised using NASA geographical data from the border to simulate and even predict how people will attempt to cross it.


How many people, how fast they will travel on flat or rocky ground, through deserts or mountainous terrain, through cities, in dry and dusty conditions or in monsoons will all be mapped out.


They conducted a live exercise earlier this year using a group of 10 students leaving a mall and then dispersing, deploying an UAV and an unmanned ground vehicle to track the targets.


This helped them refine their algorithms to catch people when a group splits and disperses.


The US has already expanded its surveillance technologies along the 1,900-mile border


Mr Son said: "We believe that by integrating multiple surveillance technologies, we can far surpass their individual capabilities.


”In our integrated system, the sum is bigger than its parts."


Mr Trump has taken a hardline against Mexico and all illegal immigrants in the country, threatening so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ which refuse to turn over residents to the authorities.


In response the president ordered funds to be slashed to all jurisdictions refusing to share information with immigration authorities.


Numerous cities throughout the US, including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, have joined the growing "sanctuary" movement, and several states counter-sued Mr Trump’s directive, saying it was unconstitutional.


During the recent G20 summit Mr Trump met with his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, and again repeated that Mexico will pay for the wall.