The Japanese government have recently recognised the potential of drone technology - and given the green light to those that meet regulations. As Devin Patrick O'Hara reports drones are now taking on new roles.
Prepare for liftoff. This hovering robot can be navigated without the touch of a button. Phoenix Lab has been developing this unique system for two years. After a successful kick starter campaign Ryo Konamura has shipped over 50 drones and has plans to produce more. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) TOKYO UNIVERSITY, GRADUATE STUDENT, RYO KONAMURA, SAYING: "Most of our customers are not personal hobbyists but rather corporations and universities are the majority." But drones have had a bad rep in recent years, especially after one fell on the prime minister's office prompting crackdowns on robots. But recently the government has recognized the potential of the emerging technology and those who meet regulations are getting the green light. One company is construction giant Komatsu. Using internet of things technology they brought construction onto the cloud. Another integral element of smart construction, drones. The drone roams the construction site taking photos, These are later compiled as 3D CGI data which can be used to model the site. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) KOMATSU RENTAL, PRESIDENT AND CEO, AKINORI ONODERA, SAYING: "It's necessary to raise the productivity of workers because the number of workers is decreasing so by implementing and connecting technology in terms of construction it is best to automate the machines to a certain degree to account for the lack of skilled workers." So while under strict regulations drones look to be taking to the skies in Japan. Just be sure to make sure you have the permission. Or else there will be another government drone there just to take you down.