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Infrared sensors used along ‘entire border of the United State,’ says CBP

CBP drawing
of PIR sensor

In a procurement document in which it disclosed its plans to purchase additional GS-100 Passive Infrared Sensors for use along the U.S.-Mexican border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) indicated that the existing surveillance system that deploys these PIR sensors spans “the entire border of the United States.”

That disclosure may constitute greater specificity about the widespread use of these infrared sensors, which can detect a pedestrian passing up to 100 feet away, than CBP has previously made public.

“GS-100 PIR sensors and extension cables are needed for replacement of unserviceable surveillance sensors or other areas needed for coverage,” explains CBP in a notice it released on May 20.

The PIR sensors, which are 3.5 inches long, 1.25 inches in diameter and weigh 2 ounces, will be purchased under a sole source contract, valued at nearly $150,000, that will be awarded to Vortex Systems, of Albuquerque, NM.  

“The GS‐100 Passive Infrared Sensor (PIRS) is an intrusion detector that responds to infrared energy radiated by pedestrians or vehicles within its field of view,” explain Vortex Systems on its Web site. “Depending on the temperature difference between the subject and the background, useful range of detection for a short‐range sensor is 100 feet for pedestrians. It produces a signal when it senses the movement of heat sources. The unit is utilized for remote detection of vehicles and people.” 

“A two (2) thermopile head assembly determines the direction of the intrusion,” Vortex continues. “The PIRS is telescopic in design for either indoor or oudoor application and is housed in a rugged, all‐weather, water‐resistant CPVC case. Easily deployed and concealed, it is ideal for monitoring isolated roads and trails. Mounting and positioning the thermopile head

requires care and proper alignment. The ideal installation of the PIRS is a firm post or pole for mounting the thermopile head assembly.” 

The procurement will be made by CBP’s office of information technology, says the notice. 

“The unit offers a nominal detection range up to 100 feet for illegals crossing into the United States,” said CBP.

CBP noted that other products exist, but they cannot be interchanged with the existing sensor devices. “Please note that while other similar products on the market have similar specifications; however, they are not compatible with existing surveillance equipment making Vortex Systems sole source.”

Further information about this sensor contract is available from Agnieszka Frys, a contracting officer, at 202-344-2542 or [email protected].


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