London software testing news UK


Virtual fence nearly ready for acceptance testing

Posted in Software testing by testing in London on October 21, 2007

From Sign On San Diego

Defense contractor Boeing Co. has told the government it believes it has solved most of the problems that have delayed use of the first section of a high-tech “virtual fence” along the nation’s borders for months. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials, however, said they’ll wait until acceptance testing now set for late October is done before passing judgment. The 28-mile section of fence along the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Arizona is the first of thousands of miles planned on the nation’s southern and northern borders.

Operation of the nine 98-foot towers north of the Arizona-Mexico border near the port of entry at Sasabe has been delayed for at least four months because of computer software glitches. The $20 million virtual fence pilot project remains on hold because software designed to integrate the results of sensor hits, radar readings and camera sightings wasn’t working correctly. A glitch in the programming has kept it from providing a common operating picture for agents, who plan to use it to spot and capture illegal entrants and smugglers.

He called acceptance testing “a little bit like buying a car. We didn’t want to get stuck with a lemon,” he testified. That testing is now set for the last week in October, Benson said.  The virtual fence is being tested first in Arizona, the focal point for illegal crossings into the United States from Mexico. But plans call for installing 1,800 such towers along both the Mexican and Canadian borders.

Even if the system passes, other tests may follow, and other faults may crop up during operation.“Our guys have said the true test of whether we’re accepting it is whether the Border Patrol is using it,” Benson said. “It’s not ready for prime time. We still have a little way to go.”

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