‘Go home’ drone seeks to stop Ja­pan over­time binge

‘T-Frend’ blares mu­sic over those work­ing late

Gulf News - - Palestine -

Adrone 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 work 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 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,” said Nori­hiro Kato, a di­rec­tor at Tai­sei, an of­fice se­cu­rity and clean­ing firm that co-de­vel­oped the sys­tem.

The drone is equipped with a cam­era, which stores footage on an SD card. Of­fice scenes can also be mon­i­tored al­most in real time 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.

Fee yet to be set

The fee for the ser­vice is yet to be of­fi­cially set but ‘the tar­get price’ is around 500,000 yen (Dh16,528; $4,500) a month, said Kato.

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 in Ja­pan, long work­ing hours are blamed for dozens of deaths due to strokes, heart at­tacks and sui­cides.


The T-Frend in­door drone in­side an of­fice in Tokyo. The drone hov­ers over Ja­panese em­ploy­ees and blares mu­sic at them to force them to go home.

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