UPDATED 09:02 EDT / DECEMBER 28 2012


Japanese Firm Develops World’s First Private Security Drone

Burglar alarms could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the innovation of a small Japanese security firm which is planning to market a far superior form of intruder detection.

Secom said earlier this week that it’ll soon be renting out private, camera-equipped drones that are capable of patrolling our properties, detecting intruders, taking their pictures, and even following them until the police arrive. According to Secom, the drones can either be manually operated or accomplish these tasks in auto-pilot mode.

The drones aren’t really designed to protect our homes though. Secom says that it has in mind managers of large buildings like warehouses and factories. While many buildings have security cameras these days, the grainy footage they reveal is often insufficient to aid the police in identifying criminals. Moreover, even those buildings that are equipped with cameras still have areas that are not monitored. In cases such as these, the drone will be able to get close to the action and identify culprits in the event of a break in.

Secom says that the drones use their in-built artificial intelligence to maintain a safe distance between them and anyone under surveillance, so the suspect may not even know of its presence. Should communications between the drone and the controller be interrupted, it’s been programmed to automatically land in the nearest safe location.

“The flying robot could take off if our online security systems detect any unauthorised entry,” explained Secom’s Asuka Saito, in an interview with AFP.

“It would enable us to quickly check out what’s actually happening on the spot.”

Secom’s drone is the first private security drone offered by any company in the world. The drone’s spec sheet details an odd-looking machine measuring approximately 60cm wide and weighing 3.5lbs, with four sets of rotors provided by Germany’s Ascending Technologies that enables it to fly. The cameras and detection equipment were all designed by Secom.

We might have to wait a while before we see this level of security in the US however. Secom said that Japanese companies will be able to rent the drones by early 2014, adding that it would ‘like’ to offer the service to other countries as well.

Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but from a business sense the system would surely be a better sell in the US and Western Europe, where crime rates are far higher than they are in Japan.

If you’re interested, you can read the full press release from Secom here (in Japanese).

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