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Drones… drones… drones… custom-made unmanned vehicles are turning out to be the tech-talk in Japan, with a host of organisations and companies planning to use drones to increase their efficiency and productivity.

As of January 4, as many as 231 individuals, companies and schools have submitted requests for permission to fly drones and a lot more are expected to lengthen this list. This comes after a recently enacted law to regulate flights of unmanned aerial vehicles. The amended Civil Aeronautics Law bans flights of drones weighing 200 grams or more over crowded residential areas at altitudes of 150 meters or higher and near airports. Those who want to operate aerial vehicles in such areas need permission from the transport ministry.

Secom said it will start using its purpose-built drone 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.

In another important development, a Sony Corp-affiliated firm announced that it will launch a drone project to deliver relief goods to areas that become isolated in the event of an earthquake or torrential rain. It may be noted that Japan has been using drones to improve agriculture.

What about the illegal drones? Tokyo police have adopted a new system for dealing with them. They now have a fleet of drone catchers, which are drones themselves, each equipped with a 10-foot net that can capture a drone without letting it fall to the ground.

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