Ring’s Drone Innovates Residential Security—But Will It Fly?
Raji Sahota posted on October 14, 2020 |
Ring’s new security drone is designed for inside your house.
The autonomous indoor security camera works with Ring Alarm and flies to preselected locations to easily check in on your home. (Image courtesy of Ring.)
The autonomous indoor security camera works with Ring Alarm and flies to preselected locations to easily check in on your home. (Image courtesy of Ring.)

The interest in smart home devices has several companies researching and innovating security systems. In recent years, drones have become an essential part of security for corporations and governments as they can easily capture live aerial footage of incidents and other security events. Ring, the Amazon-owned smart home company, brings drone security inside for consumers.

According to the company, it came up with the innovation after hearing complaints from many customers about leaving doors or windows open. Instead of encouraging customers to buy more cameras, Ring came up with the idea for customers to have only one. 

The new Ring Always Home Cam is an autonomous indoor security camera that flies on a customized route around the house and is connected to one’s phone to stream the live video via the Ring app. It can also be used with the Ring Alarm, a complete home security system, to automatically fly a set path when homeowners indicate that they are away. 

The homeowners can choose the flight path to ensure that the drone flies only where they want it to. In fact, they can view the inside of their home from a birds-eye perspective, gaining sight of all necessary corners, especially hard-to-reach locations, which standard security cameras cannot. 

By using AI and machine learning techniques, drones can easily process footage to automatically recognize unknown objects or people and follow them as well as continuously survey large parts of a home. 

The drone has four rotors, which are propellers attached to a motor, to fly around. Two of the rotors move clockwise, while the other two move counterclockwise. The drone also uses an accelerometer to provide information about its speed and direction, as well as an altimeter.

Ring states that it has created the device with privacy and confidentiality in mind. When the device is in its base, the camera is blocked and only starts recording when the drone flies.

The device also has obstacle detection and avoidance technology to avoid objects in its path. Its small size (at 5 in x 7 in x 7 in), lightweight design and shrouded propellers also allow it to safely fly around a home. Though it may seem like the best sci-fi-type innovation in the surveillance market, it also comes with its disadvantages. 

The device costs $249. Multiple smaller security cameras can retail for as little as $25 each. 

Stationary security cameras have the same security features as the Ring drone without the annoying hum or need to fly around the house. All top cameras, including the Ring Always Home Cam, have HD video quality, pan/tilt/zoom functions, cloud storage, activity notifications, and custom activity zones. Standard security cameras also allow homeowners to view multiple angles of their homes at the same time. This enables homeowners to quickly gain a full picture of the inside of their homes without the hassle of having to launch and control a device. 

Not only are standard cameras easier to use, reliable and cheap, but they can also be hidden throughout a house instead of creating a potential nuisance inside the home. Besides, it is much more efficient to surveil a criminal or keep an eye out for suspicious behavior when the individual is unaware that they are under surveillance. 

With residential security breaches on the rise, future Ring drone customers should be concerned that their device could be easily hacked. After a case in Alberta, Canada, which left a homeowner distraught after she realized a stranger could remotely take over her security system and even disarm the system, unlock doors and windows, and track her departures and arrivals via an app. With Ring users’ accounts having already been exposed, adding an in-home drone may not be a popular approach.

The Ring Always Home Cam is set to ship in 2021, but it’s hard to accept the idea of indoor security drones being anything but a novelty.

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