Intrusion detection can be done with a variety of systems, from cameras to radar to human guards. Each approach has its advantages and limitations. The picture radar provides, for example, has very limited information. Security cameras give us much more information – with full-colour HD cameras providing us with many details that can lead to identification of the intruder. Unfortunately, they are generally stationary, allowing a trespasser to bypass their field of view and evade detection. Guards are mobile, but employing them is costly, and even humans are limited in speed, ability to overcome obstacles, and more.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles can provide a convenient solution to this problem. Japanese company Secom has launched a security service that utilises this technology to provide an innovative security solution.

Secom has purpose-built a UAV equipped with a surveillance camera and a light emitting diode to record intruders and suspicious objects. The cool thing about Secom’s drone is its suspect-pursuit capabilities. The UAV can travel at speeds of 10 km/h at an altitude of three to five metres to follow intruders completely autonomously. All recorded data is transmitted to a central server in real time, so if the drone sustains damage none of the information is lost.

The UAV will set back potential customers 800,000 yen ($6,646 US), and comes with a storage hangar and control equipment. The monthly fee for the security service us 5,000 yen ($40 US). The company hopes to garner 100 contracts a year for its service.

As of next spring, Secom plans to introduce a blimp-based surveillance service for monitoring events on a larger scale. It hopes to combine the two solutions into a comprehensive platform that can provide security for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.