Japanese Company Introduces a Robot to Replace Guards

TOKYO -- Secom Co., a Japanese security company, said Thursday it has developed a security robot for use at a large building such as factory or school and will start renting them out Saturday.

The 112-centimeter-high (44 inches), four-wheel robot, dubbed "Secom Robot X," is equipped with a sensor and monitoring camera to make reports to the control center when it detects any abnormal situation on its patrol rounds.

It can also chase suspicious individuals and even intimidate them with smoke by remote control, the company said.

The robot, which weighs 230 kilograms, is powered by rechargeable batteries and moves at the maximum speed of 10 kilometers per hour.

It is able to run for up to two hours per charge and charges itself before battery exhaustion.

Secom will rent the robot for a monthly 300,000 yen but an additional 4.5 million yen is necessary for laying the robot's running route.

Still, the robot guard will cost only half of the sum of hiring human guards around the clock, according to Secom estimates.

(c) 2005 Associated Press