The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has announced a $198K award to PetPace LLC to assess their product’s ability to provide real-time health monitoring of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) canines.
The project is awarded under the Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) Other Transaction Solicitation (OTS) aimed at non-traditional performers to offer solutions to some of the toughest threats facing DHS and the homeland security mission.
This is the first award under the K9 Wearables Solicitation, one of five active calls under the SVIP.
With hope that these new technologies will avert tragedies such as the loss of Lazer, a 4-member of the Rio Grande Valley’s BORSTAR team in June.
Lazer was working alongside his handler, attempting to locate a group of injured people abandoned in the desert, when he began to show signs of overheating.
(A revolutionary wearable tech lets your dog talk to you. Petpace monitors your pet’s health & activity and sends an alert to your phone if there is a reason for concern. Courtesy of PetPace and Vimeo)
Officials said the handler tried to cool him off before transporting Lazer to a veterinary clinic where he died of heat-related injuries.
He had been with his handler for a year and 10 months, working with the Rio Grande Valley’s BORSTAR team.
Lazer is credited with making 93 apprehensions during his time with BORSTAR. In the last decade over 1,000 bodies or remains have been found, of migrants trying to cross the desert.
“Our sector suffered a great loss, as these loyal companions have given their lives to ensure their handlers, fellow agents and our community members stay safe,” Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. said.
“CBP has one of the largest and most diverse canine programs in the country with more than 1,500 canine teams trained in disciplines such as search and rescue and firearms and currency detection,” said CBP Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
“Our canines are vital partners in achieving CBP’s mission and often operate in intense climates with serious physical demands.”
“This program provides an opportunity to gather new data in the training environment which could translate to improved animal performance and care in the field.”
“Canine teams are the silent heroes of homeland defense,” said Acting DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology Dr. Robert Griffin.
“I am pleased S&T can identify and leverage some of the cutting edge technologies in the field with the potential to improve the training and welfare of the Department’s working dogs.”
The SVIP K9 Wearable Technologies Call aims to use personalized, real-time data gathered from canines via wearable devices.
DHS intends to evaluate this data in order to derive new insights that could improve animal health and performance.
The project is comprised of technical topic areas to include: Recording and Transmitting Canine Vital Signs; Receiving, Storing and Analyzing Vital Sign Data, and Maintaining and Updating Canine Sensor Components. The solicitation is open until June 7, 2017.
(Understanding the Data Collected by the PetPace. Courtesy of PetPace and Vimeo)
PetPace will demonstrate how existing technology to track vital signs and physiological data can be operationalized for CBP canine teams. Project milestones include independent laboratory test and evaluation and in-theater demonstrations.
Canines have a critical role in CBP’s mission of securing the border.
(See a CBP Canine Alert & Drug Seizure in Action. Feb. 26, 2017 in a joint operation with Alliance to Combat Transnational Threats (ACTT) partners, officers at the Port of Lukeville, AZ referred a 20-year-old Mexican woman for further inspection of her Ford SUV and, working with a canine team, found nearly 115 pounds of marijuana worth $58,00. The marijuana was concealed in various places throughout the vehicle, including the fuel tank. Courtesy of the CBP and YouTube)
At U.S. ports of entry and Pre-learance locations abroad, CBP officers utilize specially trained canines for interdiction and in support of specialized programs aimed at combating terrorism, as well as countering narcotics, firearms, human, and undeclared currency smuggling.
In between ports of entry, the Border Patrol uses canines to detect undocumented aliens and illegal drugs at checkpoints and along our borders.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between official ports of entry.
CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.