Photo/IllutrationSecurity robot Reborg-X patrols the first basement level of the Shin-Marunouchi Building in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district on April 3. (Hideki Kitami)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

The march of the robots has begun at Tokyo’s landmark Shin-Marunouchi Building commercial complex, where a robot security guard has started patrolling, welcoming visitors and detecting potential intruders in the middle of the night.

The futuristic presence is part of a feasibility study by leading real estate developer Mitsubishi Estate Co., which is exploring the possibilities of several types of robots patrolling office buildings and providing information for visitors at facilities in the capital’s Marunouchi district.

The developer plans to use robots to carry out tasks to help them cope with possible labor shortages in the future.

The 140-centimeter tall security robot Reborg-X has been welcoming visitors entering the Shin-Marunouchi Building’s first basement level since April 2. The camera-equipped robot constantly records images of goings-on in the building.

At midnight, it automatically patrols the facility, avoiding obstacles and sounding an alarm if it detects suspicious persons with its sensors. It also has a function to provide information on shops, restaurants and other facilities in the building.

The feasibility study will continue with four artificial intelligence-equipped owl-shaped robots called Zukku expected to be installed at Shin-Marunouchi Building and Marunouchi Building from the end of April.

AI technology enables Zukku to recommend suitable shops and restaurants to visitors after identifying their sex, age and other details with a built-in camera in another part of the trial, which will start on April 30.

Several cleaning robots are also scheduled to be introduced at an underground passage and other places after the middle of next month.

A concierge service using Segway, a personal transport assistant robot, has also started on nearby Marunouchi Nakadori street.

Aiming to be easily recognized by visitors, two concierges ride on Segway to provide information around the area three times a day.