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As terrorism and crimes are becoming more rampant, surveillance cameras are installed everywhere. Surveillance cameras on the street enhance the impression that “surveillance should be tight enough to completely eliminate dead angles.” Can people live reassuringly in such a community?
More often than not, there is no police officer in the police box in Japan that should be watching over the residents and making them feel reassured when you visit there. Neighborhood residents may feel uneasy when recognizing that there is often no police officer in the police box. Why can’t people feel reassured even when safety is enhanced by increased facilities? In what way can technologies reassure the residents?
In the morning, the robot stands to the crosswalk that elementary school children use to get to school, and greets the children. After seeing off the children, the robot talks to the elderly in the park. Several patrolling robots work together to establish relationships with residents, giving them basic knowledge about “knowing everyone living in the neighborhood,” which is difficult for people to establish. Unlike the surveillance cameras that secretly watch over residents, these robots clarify their existence, positively establish relationships with the residents, and reassure the residents.
“Isn't Mrs. Hamada here today?” Patrolling robots identify specific persons who stopped going out frequently among people whom the patrolling robots greet every day. According to necessity, the robots call residents for attention and encourage them to watch over one another in the community. The robots activate human relationships in the community in a gradual way, and ease the anxiety of people living alone who may feel, “no one would even notice if I fell down.”
In cases where someone becomes ill on the street, patrolling robots quickly go to the scene and visually indicate the occurrence of the problem to the community. The good relations that the robots have established with local residents through daily communication, and their proper instructions help the neighbors to properly respond to an emergency. Patrolling robots simply call residents for “help” and lack the capacity to directly solve problems. They utilize their relationship with people, and enhance interpersonal relationships to solve problems.
Patrolling robots work on street even at night. Of course, they only monitor things without solving problems directly. If these robots could demonstrate the power to solve crimes on the street, people may feel more anxiety in possibly thinking that their community has a reason to give such power to the robots. The robots are there but do not protect more than necessary. This is the reassurance that patrolling robots give to the community.