Self-controlled robo guard scans for dangerous individuals and suspicious packages, would probably look adorable with a police officer’s uniform.

The morning started off like any other. We got up, hopped on the train to go to SoraNews24 headquarters, and when we got off at Seibu Shinjuku Station, at first nothing looked out of the ordinary.

But the station sounded different. No, it wasn’t filled with the squeals of adoring fangirls swooning over posters of our ace reporter Mr. Sato (those were only up at Seibu Ikebukuro Station). Instead, mixed in with the murmurs and footsteps of our fellow commuters we could hear a clear yet mechanical voice repeatedly saying “Security patrol in progress. Security patrol in progress.”

And then we saw this.

Japan is the cosplay capital of the world, and at first we thought this might be an overzealous costumer who just couldn’t wait until next month’s winter Comiket to show off his outfit. It turns out, though, that that’s an honest-to-goodness security robot patrolling one of Tokyo’s most important rail hubs.

This isn’t a remote-controlled land drone, either. The Perseusbot, as it’s officially called, moves autonomously, thanks to technology jointly developed by Seibu Railway, the Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute, and Japanese artificial intelligence firms Earth Eyes and Nihon Unisys. As it patrols its territory, the Perseusbot scans the area with its onboard camera and also analyzes images sent to it by the facility’s preexisting installed security cameras, searching for humans moving aggressively or dangerously as well as suspicious unattended packages.

▼ The Perseusbot has a bit of a paunch, which makes us wonder if it also scans for snacks.

However, while the security robot is capable of detecting problems on its own, it leaves threat response up to flesh-and-blood colleagues. When it spots someone or something dangerous, it sends a notification to the facility’s human security staff, so there’s no need to worry about it shooting death rays or shocking you with a stun baton if you look at it cockeyed.

▼ Seeing it standing guard in front of a Starbucks sign has us wondering if, unlike carbon-based law-enforcement officers in Japan, the Perseusbot is allowed to consume beverages while on duty.

The robot is still undergoing field testing, so that the developers can gauge its capabilities and also the effect it has on pedestrian traffic flow. Since its systems aren’t completely finalized yet, when we came across the Perseusbot it was being followed by a group of researchers.

▼ Making it look like it’s got its own celebrity entourage

The Seibu Shinjuku Station test run ended on November 30, but given the rail operator’s involvement in the project, it’s probably only a matter of time until we run into one again. Hopefully it’ll be more understanding of our writers’ periodically bizarre appearance than the human Tokyo cops.

Reference: Seibu Railway, Asahi Shimbun
Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where, on second thought, he thinks it would be best to dress the Perseusbot is a penguin costume.

[ Read in Japanese ]