Japan's Narita airport rolls out security robots in run-up to 2020 Olympics

Japan will host the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to Aug 9 next year.
Japan will host the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics from July 24 to Aug 9 next year.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (XINHUA) - Narita International Airport unveiled four new robots to be deployed for security patrols at the international airport located in Tokyo's neighbouring prefecture of Chiba, local media reported on Thursday (May 30).

The 1.2m-high robots that run on wheels and are loaded with security technology, including a 360-degree surveillance camera and heat and metal sensors and detectors, will be operational from June 3 this year, the airport operator said.

In the run-up to and through the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be hosted in Tokyo, Narita's operator said it expects a major surge in inbound travellers destined for the international sporting spectacle.

The robots will contribute to the airport's security operations in light of the expected influx of visitors. Two of the robots will be deployed at Terminal 1 and another two at Terminal 2, the operator said.

Other transportation hubs and business premises in Japan are already utilising similar robot technology to carry out security and surveillance operations amid a lack of security personnel owing to Japan's ever-tightening labour market.

Similarly, the robots at Narita are expected, for the first time at a Japanese airport, to help share the burden of physical staff, and are capable of using extendable probes or "arms" to examine baggage and waste disposal boxes.

In a demonstration at the airport the previous day, the robot successfully checked a trash bin using its probe and its heat sensor detected a heated hand warmer and sent an alert to the monitoring station that an unusual object had been detected.


The wheeled robots, developed by Secom Technology, will be able to navigate inside the terminal buildings following a programmed course and are capable of using motion sensors to avoid obstacles as they manoeuvre.