‘Go home’ drone seeks to stop Japanese working late
A DRONE that hovers over Japanese employees and blares music to force them to go home was unveiled yesterday, as the country tries to reduce its notoriously long working hours.
The “T-Frend” buzzes over those trying to work late, blasting out the strains of Auld Lang Syne, a Scottish tune typically used in Japan to announce that a store is closing.
“You can’t really work when you think ‘it’s coming over any time now’ and hear Auld Lang Syne along with the buzz,” Norihiro Kato, a director at Taisei, an office security and cleaning firm that co-developed the system, said.
The drone is equipped with a camera, which stores footage on an SD card. Office scenes can also be monitored from a remote location.
The machine recognises its location on a building floor without GPS.
It takes off from its port, makes a surveillance flight on a pre-set path and then returns autonomously.
Taisei plans to start the T-Frend service in April in collaboration with drone system developer Blue Innovation and telecoms operator NTT East.
T-Frend’s developers are also studying the possibility of giving the drone facial recognition technology to tell who is in the office after hours.
Administrative officials at many companies push overtimers out the door, but this has ironically resulted in these officials working overtime themselves, to say nothing of causing friction between employees.
Japan’s government has been trying to change a culture in which working long hours is perceived as proof of loyalty and dedication.
Every year, long hours are blamed for dozens of deaths due to strokes, heart attacks and suicides.