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Secom
The drone reacts to movement.
CRIME-FIGHTING

An intruder-chasing drone just went on sale in Japan

By Olivia Goldhill

Guard dogs are well and good but, as countless spy films have shown us, they have their weaknesses (sleep and a fondness for snacks, for example.) So Japanese security firm Secom has come up with a high-tech solution: replace dogs with drones.

The Secom Drone, which costs 800,000 yen ($6,620) upfront plus 5,000 yen ($41) per month, went on sale on Friday (Dec. 11). It is intended for use in large factories and large commercial sites.

The drone is mounted on a charging station and is linked to a detection system that senses motion. When there’s suspicious activity, the drone is sent to investigate, transmitting a live video feed to a human security team as it flies. It also comes with an LED light to help get a clearer picture of any suspects, according to reports of the device from IDG News Service.

Unfortunately, the drone is unlikely to chase down any speedy thieves, as it can only travel at 10 kmph (6 mph). But at least it will be able to follow intruders around concerns to get more detailed pictures of their face and clothes, and maybe creep them out.

“It won’t leave the premises but will record imagery of intruders leaving it,” said Secom spokesman Akihiko Takeuchi at a drone conference in Makuhari outside Tokyo in May.

Secom has been working on the product since 2012, according to Japan Times, but has delayed the launch as the country has adapted to risks from drones. In April this year, a drone carrying trace amounts of radioactive cesium flew onto the roof of the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office.

And last Friday, Japan’s police announced that they’ve come up with their own novel approach to tackling drones that go rogue: Dozens of officers have been trained to fly their counter-drones, armed with a large net, to catch any civilian drones spotted in no-fly zones.