Drug Enforcement Feds Want Augmented Reality to Monitor U.S./Mexico Border


The agency is already putting some capabilities to use.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is one of several federal entities looking to up its use of augmented reality, or AR. 

Under the branch of extended reality technologies, AR is the one that superimposes computer-generated information over the device wearer’s views of the real world. DEA’s Aviation Division and other Justice Department components are looking to buy an Augmented Reality Mapping System, or ARS, for government aircraft. 

“The ARS shall provide a mission management system that will enhance situational awareness by overlaying street names, addresses, parcel data, business names and landmarks of importance directly over live video from the imager,” according to a recently released solicitation.

Features expected in the proposed system include high-resolution aerial synthetic imagery, mapping data of the entire U.S. and Mexico border 50 miles wide—and more.

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, and DEA among others, are already deploying augmented and virtual reality capabilities in the federal space. In its notice, the drug-hunting administration confirmed it’s using the Shotover Systems ARS, “in conjunction with DEA airborne imaging systems for observation and surveillance to support ground-based enforcement personnel with recorded video evidence.” Officials aim to continue to turn to that product, or another with equal or more capabilities.

Interested parties are invited to respond to DEA’s inquiry with proposals and details about their products by Aug. 25.