Last time we heard from Palmer Luckey, the one-time poster boy for VR, he was quietly ousted from Facebook after a $100,000 donation to a pro-Trump “shitposting” group came to light.
Now Luckey, who sold his VR company Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, is back, and his new company is concerned with national security.
The New York Times reports that his newest business venture uses lidar technology — commonly used in self-driving cars — for surveillance on country borders or high-level sites such as military bases. The report added that the technology, when completed, could be used to detect threats such as drones, but ignore more common objects such as birds or other wildlife. It is proposed as an alternative to full-scale border walls, such as the one President Trump has pledged to build between the U.S. and Mexico, due to potentially vast cost savings.
Luckey confirmed the outline of his new venture in a statement to the Times:
We are spending more than ever on defense technology, yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades. 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.
Peter Thiel, a tech advisor to President Trump, is planning to support Luckey’s new company with investment from his fund, the Times’ report noted. There’s no information on other potential financial backers at this point.
Already, the company — which is located in Southern California — has hired “a handful” of staff, including former Oculus employee Christopher Dycus.