On 17 June 2016, OFF Line Corporation successfully completed a test of a private surveillance service at Mount Takao using a drone flying 150m above the ground and beacons transmitting 900m in an unobstructed line, with a 450m radius.
OFF Line Corporation (Headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo, CEO Koichi Ishizuka, referred to hereafter as OFF Line), which operates Photozou, Japan’s largest photo social network, on 17 June 2016, successfully completed a test of a drone-based private surveillance service.
The test took place at Mount Takao, and featured a smartphone app detection module attached to a drone, from where signals from the company’s proprietary beacons (Bluetooth Low Energy) with a world-leading range (diameter of 900m, radius 450m) were detected from 150m above the ground.
The detecting terminal used an Android device with the program from the smartphone app “AirTalk”. This device enables the world’s fastest detection and reception of the first signal transmitted by the beacons (Bluetooth Low Energy), the advertise packets. Additionally, an inference on the approximate location of the beacons can be made based on the strength of the advertise packets (domestic patent held, international patent in application process).
In places such as mountainous areas, where drone flights are allowed, private surveillance via drone is possible with some restrictions. In urban areas, where population size is denser, a number of applications would be needed in order to use drones for the purpose of providing private surveillance for children or people with dementia.
This test revealed that it will be possible to provide services for locating lost children or elderly by launching a drone to fly with a few kilometer radius of the last known location of the missing person, and identifying the location of the person based on the strength of the signals received by the drone.
In April of this year, OFF Line performed a test for locating wandering elderly people in Kanazawa City, Ishikawa. In the future, the company plans to launch a service within Kanazawa City for locating wandering elderly people, utilizing the beacons with long-distance transmitting ability (900m diameter, 450m radius) used in this experiment, and the device that was developed for recognizing the signals (Android/iPhone) with the smartphone application “AirTalk”.
The company plans to further improve the beacons with long-range transmission capability (Bluetooth Low Energy) by making them more compact, lighter, and more energy-efficient, before offering them for sale at an estimated price of between 3000-5000 yen (approximately one year of use from a single button battery).