As President Trump maps out plans for a border wall with Mexico, Customs and Border Protection is looking at a more mobile way to monitor the border: consumer drones. The agency is currently soliciting proposals for small unmanned aerial systems, similar to consumer drones manufactured by DJI and Parrot, to be deployed by US Border Patrol agents in the field.
First described in a contractor solicitation notice last summer, the proposed aircraft would be small enough to be carried in a truck and simple enough to be deployed by a single border agent in less than five minutes. The crafts would also be outfitted with sophisticated sensors, which may include infrared cameras and facial-recognition capabilities. The solicitation specifically asks for “sUAS,” a term typically used for consumer-grade drones under 55 pounds, and a significant contrast from the Predator B drones that have patrolled the border in the