Japan Secom first drone security service – セコムがドローンで警備

First in the world to use drones by a private security service, according to Japan’s Secom Co. According to The Japan Times,  Secom Co. said it will begin using its purpose-built drone on Friday (Dec 11, 2015), in what it claims to be the first use of an UAV in the world by a private security service.

Secom security drone

Secom had announced several years ago that it was developing a small flying surveillance robot, but service launch was delayed due to several incidents in Japan involving drones that provided bad press for the industry, including in March of this year when a drone carrying a small amount of a radioactive substance was found on the roof of the prime minister’s office.

The drone will take pictures of persons and automobiles of a suspicious nature and send them to the company’s control center where they will be able to take action.  The company expects their service to be used at large factories and commercial facilities.

Rather than installing many fixed security cameras,  with its camera technology, according to Nikkei Asian Review the drones are able to move around in order to take pictures of license plates and intruders’ faces as they enter factory grounds or shops at night.

Screen shot of Secom drone security software interface
Secom drone security software
Image: Kyodo

The drone measures 57cm across and 22.5cm in height.  It weighs 2kg and can fly 3 – 5 meters above the ground at a speed of 10 kph and can operate for about 10 minutes on a single charge.  The drone takes off from its charging station automatically when sensors detect an intruder going over a wall, for instance. It then follows the target, hovering 3 meters to 5 meters off the ground.

The device features autonomous navigation based on Secom’s experience with sensors and image analysis technology. The drone maintains its distance as from the target as it moves, determining which way the intruder is facing and lighting up the area to take photos of a person’s face or a vehicle’s license plates. It can also detect the precise location of the target, using GPS, to within a few centimeters.

The drone continuously monitors its propellers and sensors, shutting down if there is a malfunction. It uses a preinstalled 3-D map to navigate around a compound, avoiding buildings, trees and other obstacles.

Learn more about Secom or read the drone system press release (Japanese).

Secom system diagram (from press release)
Secom drone security system diagram
Image: Secom