New technology sees more than the average drone

Blimp patrols US/Mexico border

SAN DIEGO - Spy technology once used in war is now moving into American airspace.

Sometimes called the “Floating Eye,” an unmanned blimp can capture crystal clear images on the ground, day or night, and it can see far more than the average drone.

The technology, developed from war, was used to spot insurgents but these military surveillance blimps made by Logos Technologies of Arlington, could be the newest additions to the US Border Patrol.

“This system is designed to take a movie of a city sized area, so it’s got cameras that are hundreds of megapixels that essentially take a picture once a seconds,” John Marion, executive VP of Logos Technologies, said.

The US Board Patrol hopes that using technology that was once used in a war desert environment will help catch drug runners and immigrants crossing the US border deserts illegally.

Most recently tested in Nogales, Arizona, the blimp helped stop 122 undocumented immigrants and assisted patrol agents uncover drug trails.

“They wanted to know how they got there, where they crossed the fence, how long they hid in each area, so we can go back and reconstruct that,” Marion said.

Images from the blimps can be stored for 30 days but the company says they are working on compression technology that could expand that time to a year or more making it a powerful tool.

At a time when federal lawmakers are pushing to scale up security by adding more fencing and patrol agents along the border.

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