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  1. Science and Technology
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  4. Minisode 19: A Little More Sophisticated Technology

A Little More Sophisticated Technology

A Little More Sophisticated Technology

In this Tech Speak minisode, we recorded live in Indianapolis, where S&T, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) deployed the DETER hostile vehicle mitigation barrier at this year’s Indy 500 race. DETER (Deployable Expedient Traffic Entry Regulator) is a portable vehicle barrier capable of withstanding a box truck moving at 30 miles per hour. It can also be lowered in a matter of seconds to allow emergency or official vehicles to pass through. Hear from S&T’s Ali Fadel and ERDC’s August Johnson about the need for this type of technology and what’s next.

Run time: 06:23
Release date: June 18, 2024

Show Notes

Guests: August Johnson, Research and Mechanical Engineer, Engineer Research and Development Center, Army Corps of Engineers and Ali Fadel, Physical Security Program Manager, Mission and Capability Support, Science and Technology Directorate

[00:00:00] August Johnson: We can control the barrier from the side over here, and eliminate the ability for a vehicle to come through.

[00:00:06] Dave: That was August Johnson, and he is one of the designers of a new kind of vehicle barrier that has the potential to make life a lot easier for law enforcement and first responders at events large and small. I'm Dave, editor for S& T, and welcome to TechSpeak, a mini episode of the Technologically Speaking podcast. Today's episode is about DETER, and this year's Indy 500.

DETER is a new piece of technology that S&T is working to adapt, test, and transition for use at events large and small. Here is August Johnson again. He's a research and mechanical engineer at the Engineer Research and Development Center out of Vicksburg, Mississippi, which is part of the Army Corps of Engineers.

[00:00:45] August Johnson: So, DETER stands for Deployable Expedient Traffic Entry Regulator. Traditionally, you might see a cop in a cop car just pulled across a lane, or a concrete jersey barrier that's immovable or water filled containers. This is a little more sophisticated technology. It's an active vehicle barrier that can be deployed anywhere. When you start thinking about smaller venues, county fairs and things like that, you don't always have the officer presence that you do at a big event like this, and so in those cases they could leave this and deploy it, and block an intersection or block an entry off and leave it there blocked, and you know you wouldn't have to worry. It's not anchored, you can pick it up and move it around as needed. it's modular, you can build it out in different widths for different lane widths, so it's a little more of a fine-tuned tool for controlling entry to an area or controlling traffic through an entry control point. This barrier is actually designed for a large box truck. It'll stop a large box truck at 30 miles an hour.

[00:01:45] Dave: Here is Ali Fadel, the Physical Security Program Manager here at DHS S&T, talking about why DETER is at the Indy 500.

[00:01:54] Ali Fadel: We've used this barrier over at the NFL Draft, and now we are using it here at the Indy 500. When we deployed it at the NFL Draft, it was a true prototype, it only spanned 16 feet in width, now it spans 20 feet, which accommodates the much larger vehicles. We've made a lot of hydraulic. changes, so that where the barrier used to take 20 seconds to raise and fall for traffic to continue, now it is tunable. It can raise in an instant and fall in an instant, or it can be tuned to whatever speed that user needs. The skid plates have been updated to be able to carry a larger load. We have never had this barrier driven over by the public and we are looking to see how much load it can take over a period of time, and it is a lot easier for us to have it with continuous traffic than have somebody in a test bed drive over it 10,000 times.

[00:02:55] Dave: Ali also talked about the relationship that S&T has with other agencies, like CISA, the Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency, and how that comes together for a deployment and test like this one at the Indy 500.

[00:03:09] Ali Fadel: My relationship with CISA goes to the Infrastructure Security Division, as well as the Office of Bombing Prevention. What really opened up our ability to work on these R&D enhancements, as well as developments of new hostile vehicle mitigation systems was the infrastructure bill. The infrastructure bill allowed us to be able to fund these previously unfunded needs that were out there and explore different ways and innovative ways to secure public venues. So this has been a highly collaborative effort between S&T, the larger DHS, my performer, which is, the Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the CISA Regional Protective Security Advisor, and the TSA Federal Coordinator. Our public/private partnership with the Indy Motor Speedway is strong, and they have been very accommodating, within the partnership, to test these types of R&D developments that S&T has for future use, in a commercial venue.

[00:04:12] Dave: Here is August to talk about the role S&T plays getting these kinds of new ideas out into the world.

[00:04:18] August Johnson: DHS has been awesome in helping us find opportunities like this to evaluate these systems. A lot of times we have great designs, but if they don't transition out into use, it really doesn't come to fruition. So I think in that respect we've been able to leverage them as a partner to help us get into events like this and do real live tests and improvement of these physical security devices. It’s developed under an army work unit, and if it was just strictly that, then if the army, is not as interested or doesn't need it at the time, it may die on the vine or, live somewhere in a database as a design, but not necessarily get the visibility and the use, the test in a real world, operational environment like this that we're getting today. So yeah, I think it's great to get good tools that we developed for the Army that can also be used for civilian use.

[00:05:05] Dave: We asked Ali why S& T's role in this kind of collaborative project is so important, and what’s next for DETER.

[00:05:13] Ali Fadel: S&T is vital to these developments because these are investments that do not occur on an operational basis. The R&D partnership with our component partners leads to the development becoming something that is deployable. These events prove that these concepts are now real life and can be manufactured and prove helpful to secure the homeland. Within hostile vehicle mitigation barriers we are developing a much lighter barrier that we validating the ramps and we will begin assembly of arms and, do some internal testing, and hopefully at some point within the next year, we can get those out and test those in different live situations as well.

[00:05:58] Dave: Deploying and testing DETER at the Indy 500 was a great example of S&T bridging the gap between different components of the government to bring new and useful technologies to the streets, or in this case, the track. Thanks for listening and be sure to follow us at DHS SciTech. DHS SCI TE CH. Bye!

Last Updated: 06/17/2024
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