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It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a drone! Disaster info test flight held in Shinjuku

A drone equipped with speakers and cameras flies above Shinjuku Chuo Park, with the skyscraper district in the background, in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward, on Dec. 12, 2017. (Mainichi)

Unusual escape guides in case of an earthquake or other disaster were tested across Shinjuku Chuo Park in Tokyo on Dec. 12 -- drones equipped with speakers and a camera to aid citizen from the skies.

    The trial was organized by both public and private organizations, such as Shinjuku-based Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc., which has entered into disaster prevention agreements with some 50 municipal governments around the country, along with universities and the Shinjuku Municipal Government. The exercise imagined that a disaster had occurred in the skyscraper district of Shinjuku Ward, and roughly 30 people participated.

    While the drones ran into some trouble, such as the speakers not broadcasting verbal evacuation instructions, a representative involved with the project said, "They were effective as a method for transmitting information."

    Will the newest duties for drones now include protecting the lives and safety of people affected by disasters?

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