Palmer Luckey, the 24-year-old founder of virtual reality company Oculus, has confirmed to The New York Times that he’s working on a new company that’s focused on developing surveillance technology.
“We are spending more than ever on defense technology,” Luckey said in a statement to The New York Times, “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.”
The new company is working on cameras that can be mounted on telephone poles, and it has the potential to be used on US borders.
Luckey sold Oculus, the virtual reality company he cofounded in 2012, to Facebook for $2.3 billion (£1.7 billion) in 2014.
But Luckey left Facebook in March after months of disquiet inside the company. His departure followed reports that Luckey helped fund an organization that helped to create memes that opposed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Now, Luckey is reportedly working to develop surveillance technology that can help to detect things like drones. The New York Times says that Luckey’s new, unnamed startup will use similar technology to the lidar devices found in self-driving cars to detect potential threats.
Right now, Luckey is reportedly self-funding his new company, but Trump advisor Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm Founders Fund is planning to invest, according to The New York Times. Luckey has also met with Steve Bannon about the idea, according to the Times.
The news of Luckey’s new startup follows a May report from Gizmodo that Luckey met with US secretary of the interior Ryan Zinke to discuss “Border Wall building plans.”
“The Secretary had a brief meeting where he listened to their ideas about using technology on the border and referred the gentlemen to the Department of Homeland Security,” a representative for Zinke told Gizmodo last month.
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