Palmer Luckey, the wunderkind founder of virtual-reality firm Oculus who left Facebook last year under a political cloud, is building a border wall — and he wants the United States to pay for it.
It had been previously reported that Luckey’s new company, Orange County-based Anduril Industries, is working on a “smart” border wall made up of sensors and artificial intelligence. But a new report shows that Anduril’s technology has been tested by the federal government, and that it has already helped “customs agents catch 55 unauthorized border crossers” along the Texas-Mexico border.
Steven Levy writes for Wired that Anduril also has “a government-funded evaluation project under way outside of San Diego.”
After Facebook bought Oculus, maker of the Rift VR headset, for $2 billion in 2014, Luckey joined the social networking giant. He left Facebook last year for an undisclosed reason, although it did come after revelations that he gave money to an anti-Hillary Clinton, pro-Donald Trump group called Nimble America. He also appears to have made posts on r/The_Donald, a Reddit community that’s heavily “alt-right,” which means it’s made up of white nationalists and white supremacists, but later denied doing so.
Luckey, who’s now 25 years old, told Wired: “The alt-right, as it exists, as it’s defined, I do not support, never have.” He said he is “fiscally conservative, pro-freedom, little-L libertarian, and big-R Republican.”
Anduril is backed by Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, according to Wired. Tech billionaire Thiel, a Trump supporter, also co-founded Palantir Technologies, a secretive data-mining company in Palo Alto. Most of Anduril’s other co-founders are former Palantir employees: Brian Schimpf, CEO of Anduril, plus Trae Stephens and Matt Grimm. The other co-founder listed on the startup’s website, Joe Chen, is a military veteran who was one of Oculus’ first employees.
On its website, Anduril says its founders “share a belief in the duty of American companies to step up and solve crucial national security problems” in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The company has 30 employees.
By Levi Sumagaysay for THE MERCURY NEWS
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