A company has rolled out a new security system that, it asserts, can eliminate the need for fences to protect national borders and other sensitive areas.
The system, produced by US Global Nanospace, Inc., breaks new ground as a means of protecting borders, as well as critical infrastructure such as seaports, oil pipelines, and power stations, according to Carl Gruenler, the company’s chief executive officer.
The company calls its product the Modular Autonomous Perimeter Security and Non-Lethal Defense System, abbreviated MAPSANDS.
Homeland security is a main likely area of application for the product, as are border control operations around the world, according to Gruenler.
The product, Gruenler said, may be thought of as a system of systems, in which a core body of software acts as a control for various technologies supporting a given security mission.
Typically a configuration of MAPSANDS would use that core software to direct a combination of subsystems for surveillance, audio warnings to intruders, and nonlethal means of repelling intruders if they persist, Gruenler explained.
Setting MAPSANDS apart from other security systems, he said, is the fact that it does not simply detect intruders after they’ve entered a security perimeter: it can spot and repel intruders before they get close to a sensitive target.
Moreover, customers of MAPSANDS will have the option of letting the system run on "automatic," without humans standing by to do the shooing-away of intruders, Gruenler said. System users can opt to have direct human involvement with the system’s operation if they wish, he said, but at times there are clear advantages to having a system that does not require human participation.
"The fact that it can be totally autonomous is highly desirable," he said, citing the example of protecting an oil pipeline hundreds of miles in length.
A system user, such as a government or industry facility, may prefer to operate the system without humans in the loop, he said, "in places where there might not be total trust of the manpower involved."
The company also claims to have devised a security system that, at least implicitly, can read the intentions of intruders.
"One of the big holes in the mission [of perimeter security] is to understand someone’s intent," said Gruenler. If a person is spotted crossing some desolate area and approaching an oil pipeline, is it an "innocent bystander, or someone who needs to be dealt with?" he asked. The approach laid out by MAPSANDS is to "be sure you’ve communicated with the individuals, in their language, and you’re one hundred percent sure they’ve heard you. The verbal messages would be... loud and clear [even] at long distances."
A person wandering near a power station or other sensitive facility, in short, would hear a voice yelling very clear "keep away" warnings in his or her own language.
Of the system’s voice projection, Bruener said: "positively it’ll work at one thousand meters," a sufficient distance that can cause an intruder to hold up long before he gets very close to a protected facility.
But if the individuals does not respond to the verbal warnings, "you can start reading intent," Gruenler said.
Then the system begins working its way through a programmed set of increasingly escalated responses to stop the intruder, starting with more warnings (such as alarming noises) and then moving on, if necessary, toward any of various combinations of nonlethal deterrents such as rubber bullets, Gruenler explained.
The customer sets the parameters for exactly how the system responds to a given intrusion, including how sharply and rapidly the system should escalate its responses to an intrusion, he said.
"Customers can set up their own rules of engagement, and establish exactly what happens, where the response takes place, and what the responses are," he said. The protocols of this system are "very robust; the customer can define what takes place," he said. "System parameters are readily changeable."
Moreover, the system is highly upgradable, he added. "There’s a lot of spiral development opportunities in the system. We’re continuing to expand our partnerships to [better] help customers meet their mission objectives," Gruenler said.
He declined to price the product, on grounds that "different systems can be so radically different, based on the configurations." However, "I think [our system] will be costeffective" in contrast to physical barriers, he said, and that may represent a bargain "if you’re protecting major assets with major political or economic ramifications."