Oculus VR inventor's Anduril Industries has attracted investment from Silicon Valley VC Andreessen Horowitz, CNBC reports.
Palmer Luckey's ambitions to build a virtual border wall have reportedly gotten a big boost. The Oculus VR inventor's new venture -- Anduril Industries -- has closed a new fundraising round that gives the startup a valuation of more than $1 billion, CNBC reported Wednesday.
Andruril is working on tech that uses infrared sensors and light detection to catch trespassers around military bases and borders. The system has already been deployed in Texas and Southern California.
Among the contributors to the latest round are prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, CNBC reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter.
The tech uses lidar -- light detection and ranging -- as well as cameras and infrared sensors to watch for illegal activity around borders. The tech could be used to watch the perimeter of military bases and stadiums, as well as borders.
Luckey's Oculus helped spur the current generation of virtual reality, attracting the attention of Facebook, which acquired Oculus in 2014 for nearly $2 billion. Luckey founded military tech company in 2017 upon his departure from Facebook over his involvement in an anti-Hillary Clinton campaign group.
For many Silicon Valley tech giants, doing work on military projects -- particularly on weapons development -- has proved contentious, sparking moral and ethical dilemmas. Google has said it will still work with the Pentagon but not on weapons projects, while Microsoft has rejected calls by employees to end a contract with the US Army to develop augmented reality systems for use in combat missions and training.
Luckey has a different attitude, saying in November that tech companies shouldn't try to dictate military policy or deny the military vital tools. He said he's concerned that the US is falling behind and could lose the next war if tech companies don't step up.
Representatives for Andreessen Horowitz and Anduril Industries didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.