Ring video drone checks homes for intruders or left-on lights
Amazon’s Ring has announced a new home security camera that can let you virtually walk through your house when you’re not home. The Ring Always Home Cam is mounted on a drone of sorts that can fly a preset path to check for intruders, open windows or left-on ovens. But of course, it might be more trouble than it’s worth.
What started as a simple video doorbell a few years ago has spiraled out of control into a full-blown home security empire for Amazon. There are Ring cameras for indoors and outdoors, peepholes, alarm systems, even panic buttons. But no matter how many cameras you have watching your house and yard, you’re always going to miss a spot.
To fill in that gap, Ring has now unveiled the Always Home Cam. It’s a dumb name for a smart idea – basically it’s a camera mounted to a small drone, which can buzz around your house to check for intruders, or more mundane things like windows left open or lights left on. Users can watch along through the Ring app from wherever they are, and it can be paired with the Ring Alarm system so that it can investigate when something triggers the alarm.
Of course, this idea might raise a few suspicious eyebrows, and Ring goes to a lot of effort to assure everyone that it’s not a security disaster waiting to happen. For one thing, users have to set the flight paths in advance, and it can’t be controlled manually, limiting the view any potential hackers get.
When the drone is in its dock, the camera is physically blocked, so you don’t have to worry about that little unblinking eye watching you uninvited. And it’s also apparently quite loud in flight, so it’s not going to sneak up on you in the shower.
And finally, it’s designed to be a safe drone to fly around the house too. The propellers are covered, and there’s some obstacle avoidance tech built-in to keep it from bumping into any unexpected objects or people moving through its pre-set flight path.
But there are some bigger issues that might give people pause. Recently Ring has been found to form partnerships with police forces in certain cities in the US, which can in some circumstances give them access to people’s private video and audio streams recorded by their Ring devices. While the company insists that users always have to give permission before their data is shared, it all just sounds a little too Big Brothery – and having a new flying eye in the sky may be understandably a step too far for some people.
Ring is yet to announce pricing or availability for the Always Home Cam.