This Japanese security drone will chase intruders

Secom Co. said Thursday it will start using its purpose-built drone on Friday, in what it claims is the first use of unmanned aircraft in the world by a private security service.

Equipped with a security camera and light-emitting diode lights, the drone will take images of suspicious-looking individuals and automobiles.

The images will then be sent to the company’s control center for use in tracking and capturing the people and objects.

Secom announced in 2012 that it was developing a small flying surveillance robot.

But the launch of the service was delayed due to several high-profile incidents involving drones, including when a drone carrying a small amount of radioactive cesium was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office in March this year.

The firm will start offering the service following approval based on the revised aviation law that took effect Thursday.

The company said it expected the service will be used at large-scale factories and commercial facilities.

Using the drone is more efficient than installing many fixed security cameras because it can acquire clear images of license plate numbers and types of vehicles, as well as people’s faces and clothing by approaching targets from above, according to company officials.

The drone, which measures 57 centimeters in length and width, 22.5 centimeters in height and weighs 2.2 kilograms, can fly 3 to 5 meters above the ground at a speed of 10 kph.

The first drone will be deployed at a plant owned by a manufacturer in Yamagata Prefecture.

Approval from the transport ministry is required to use the drone, which costs at least ¥864,000 to build, with a minimum monthly usage fee of ¥5,400.