Japan's Alsok to launch warning system for unwelcome drones

High-powered microphones can detect the buzzing of rotors from 150m away

Police and security officials inspect a drone that landed on the Japanese prime minister's office in April. Security firm Alsok plans to launch a system to automatically detect unwelcome drones with high-powered microphones.

Police and security officials inspect a drone that landed on the Japanese prime minister's office in April. Security firm Alsok plans to launch a system to automatically detect unwelcome drones with high-powered microphones.

Burglar alarms could soon incorporate drone-detection technology if a new service from a Japanese security company is anything to judge by.

Tokyo-based Sohgo Security Services, also known as Alsok, plans to introduce a system that can detect incoming drones by listening for the signature hum of their rotors.

The service could be aimed at government entities, corporations and key facilities such as nuclear power plants as a terrorism countermeasure. Other potential users are people or groups in the public eye who want to ward off the prying eyes of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Alsok's move follows an incident last month when a quadcopter with trace amounts of radiation was found on the roof of the Japanese prime minister's office, apparently a protest of the government's nuclear energy policy.

The system's high-powered microphones can pick up buzzing sounds from 150 meters away in any direction, and compare them against a database of drone sounds. The system is compatible with Alsok's Total Track security camera system, which can automatically detect and follow intruders in an area of coverage.

Another possibility is for the drone detectors to work with what Alsok calls "Hyper Security Guards," which are staff equipped with wearable cameras and other mobile devices. They can be alerted to a drone's presence for investigation.

Alsok has been developing security robots, including a bulky camera-equipped droid called Reborg-Q, since 1982. Last year, it launched a drone service to monitor large-scale solar power plants, and it also wants to use drones to check bridges and wind farm turbines, a spokesman said.

Pricing and the timetable for the launch of the drone-detection system have not been decided yet, he added.

Drones in Japan have been mainly used for research purposes such as monitoring the country's many volcanoes. Japanese manufacturers have yet to embrace the technology on a large scale, partly due to a lack of government regulations.

The earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant four years ago, however, have spurred researchers to develop drones that can detect radiation and operate in environments with no GPS signals.

Tim Hornyak covers Japan and emerging technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Tim on Twitter at @robotopia.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags roboticsAlsokSohgo Security Services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Hornyak

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?