Thursday, August 5, 2004

Danger, Will Robinson, DANGER!

Robot guard will smoke out villains� (New Scientist - John Boyd, Yokohama 19:00 04 August 04 - Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition)

Then how did I get this article online without a subscription? Weird.

Robocop it is not, but a security company in Tokyo is hoping that a cross between a dodgem car and the robot R2D2 will soon be helping Japanese companies scare off, or help apprehend, intruders.

Secom, a company better known for supplying human security guards, has developed a six-wheeled surveillance robot which can be either remotely controlled or pre-programmed. It can chase intruders, take high definition video pictures of them, issue loud warnings and release a dense, billowing cloud of smoke to frighten them off.

...Weighing 120 kilograms, it is no pushover. It travels at up to 10 kilometres per hour for up to 24 kilometres on a full battery charge.

Quite a little tank.

Target markets for the droid include airports, ports and hazardous industrial sites, where the robot can either patrol on a pre-programmed route or be controlled over a Wi-Fi link.

But the robot will not be for sale. Secom plans to rent out the robots at 300,000 yen a month ($2700) which is half the cost of hiring a human security guard to do the same job, says the firm.

Lovely. A literal, explicit attempt to replace human labor with robots.

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