Palmer Luckey’s new venture uses technology to police borders and large events.
Considered as ‘disgraced’ by many in Silicon Valley, for his political leanings, Luckey is still the founder of Oculus, the VR firm bought out by Facebook in 2014 for $3 billion. Leaving Facebook earlier this year in the midst of a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against his former employees hasn’t seemingly done anything to dent his enthusiasm.
His new new surveillance start-up intends to use the same combination of camera and sensor technology to monitor border crossings, currently being developed for self-driving cars. While Luckey states that his new firm could be used for a variety of purposes, it seems one of its first customers might be the current White House administration.
“We are spending more than ever on defense technology,” Luckey said in a statement to The New York Times, “yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades. We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer.” Luckey believes, could also be deployed at stadiums, to detect drones, and to protect military bases—all at a lower cost than current systems.
Luckey has, according to GizModo, already met with Trump officials to discuss the possibility of using his new firm’s surveillance technology to monitor the US border with Mexico, to create a kind of ‘virtual’ wall.’ No, the irony isn’t lost on me either.
Details are scarce
The new company is working on cameras that can be mounted on telephone poles, and it has the potential to be used on US borders, though concrete evidence such as the name of his new company, for instance are still scarce on the ground. But the fact that fellow Silicon Valley billionaire, Peter Thiel is involved probably means that Luckey’s new venture is more than just pie in the sky.
Former staff from Oculus who have also left Facebook in recent months are believed to have been recruited for the new start-up. The New York Times also quoted ‘insiders’ who said it planned to use sensors similar to those found on autonomous vehicles to monitor activity around fences and walls, with the primary buyer of such an integrated surveillance system initially being the US Government.
It’s a bold move for the young entrepreneur. But what really blows me away about this guy is the fact that while only being 24 years old, Luckey is personally worth around $730,000,000.