Palmer Luckey is planning on launching a new startup that is developing surveillance technology which could be used on country borders and around military bases.
A report by the New York Times highlighted how a technology adviser to Trump, Peter Thiel, is planning to use an investment fund to support the company set up by Oculus Rift founder Luckey.
Luckey said to the newspaper: “We are spending more than ever on defense technology, yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades,” he commented in an email. “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.”
Three people familiar with the plan told the New York Times that Luckey’s startup aims to use a technology found in self-driving cars called lidar, as well as infrared sensors and cameras to monitor borders for illegal crossings. The technology can potentially be used for different types of perimeter security and could even be used to detect drones. The software would aid the system in determining what to ignore, such as animals. The system can be mounted on telephone poles and is more cost effective than Trump’s proposed wall on the Mexican border.
Luckey’s company is currently based in Southern California and is being self-financed by him for now. Recent hires include Christopher Dycus, Oculus’s first employee.
Thiel’s investment firm Founders Fund intends to invest in the startup, according to people with knowledge of the plans.
Luckey previously donated $100,000 to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee through one of his companies in April. Prior to that, Luckey admitted to funding a pro-Trump lobbyist group, Nimble America.