Security guards in Japan have a new tool to deter intruders: a drone that will chase down and follow people without human intervention.
Made by Secom, Japan's biggest security company, the drone goes on sale Friday to organizations that need to protect large parcels of land. It will launch whenever suspicious cars or people are detected on the property by other security equipment.
The drone will snap pictures and send them to a Secom monitoring center where it can determine the threat. Today, the company sends security guards to investigate potential intrusions, so a drone could reduce its response time considerably.
In the case of a vehicle, the drone will photograph the car and its license plate. If it's a person, it will attempt to get a picture of their face.
It has LED lights for use at night, but the car better not be moving too fast. The drone's top speed is 10 kilometers per hour. It will fly between 3 and 5 meters above the ground, well out of the reach of would-be intruders.
Japan's Kyodo News published this video showing the launch of the drone, including a demonstration of it following a car and an intruder:
The drone takes off from a dedicated launch pad that includes a recharging system. The launch pad will cost ¥800,000 (US$6,575) and the drone carries a monthly rental fee of ¥5,000.
It's being promoted as an alternative to a fixed security cameras, because of its ability to fly anywhere on a property and take pictures from a variety of angles.
Secom had planned to start its drone security service this past June but it was delayed by legal issues surrounding drone flights. A revision to Japan's aviation law that formalized rules for drone flights took effect on Thursday.
The government review of drone regulations in Japan was sparked when a member of the public flew a drone onto the roof of the prime minister's office in central Tokyo.