Monitoring Over 6,000 Miles with the Galil DMC-4020 Motion Controller

It’s estimated over 850,000 have entered the United States unlawfully since 2002. The try and prevent this, U.S. Border Patrol agents have the arduous task of monitoring over 6,000 miles of land along the southern US-Mexican and northern US-Canadian borders. To assist in this demanding task, a number of solutions are employed. This includes rangers, canine units, helicopters, drones, ATV’s, watchtowers, and 20-foot tall walls. Even with all these efforts, it’s not enough to cover all those miles.

To help fill the gaps and increase border security, the idea of “virtual fencing” was brought forth. The plan was approved by the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and shortly after a number of new watchtowers were built. These watchtowers were going to be equipped with infrared sensors, remotely operated cameras, communications devices, and radar.

What was implemented is called the Night Hawk High Torque Surveillance Platform. It was developed by PVP Advanced Electro-Optical Systems, Inc. in cooperation with L3-CE.

So where does Galil come into play? Galil Motion Control provided the DMC-4020 two-axis Ethernet motion controller. This component handles the azimuth and elevation motors, delivering a positioning accuracy of 0.05 degrees.

Each Night Hawk HT can provide 24 hours, 360-degree surveillance up to 20 miles. The Galil DMC-4020 motion controller lets the user point the sensors at the region of interest. The sensors then locates and tracks targets at long range using narrow fields of view.

The motion controllers must make very small and accurate movements to keep targets within the field of view. Agents will then be alerted to these targets, requiring precise location accuracy.

The torque limit, tracking error, and modulo position features were why the Galil motion controller was chosen for the project. However, the important factor was because the DMC-4020 provides both a servo controller and motor drivers in a single integrated package. This saved space and wiring. It also saved programming time and cost. Because it supported rapid integration and utilized a familiar DMC programming language, it also sped production from concept to prototype up by four months.

This new “virtual fence” solution should help border patrol agents identify and intercept some up to 85% of all illegal passages into the U.S.

Electromate supplies Galil motion controllers like the DMC-4020 utilized in these “virtual fence” surveillance platforms. Visit