The military has been using drones for surveillance abroad for years, and now Sunflower Labs is looking to bring the same approach to home security. The Sunflower Home Awareness System makes use of solar-powered "smart lights" that work in concert with a flying camera drone to keep an eye on your property.
The system is based around the lights, which each contain more than a dozen sensors. Once a number of them are installed around the property, they work together to detect motion, vibration and sounds. When the network detects an event, the system sends the owner an alert that can be dismissed if there's nothing to worry about or the user can choose to deploy the flying camera for a closer look at what's going on.
The quadcopter carrying the camera automatically heads to the location of the detected event, using the smart lights as navigational beacons, and sends back live video to the user's mobile device. It's kind of like a flying version of the Ring home security system.
Sunflower says the system is also designed to learn your home's normal patterns to make it easier to disregard regular events like familiar cars in the driveway or animals in the yard.
The drone has an advanced autopilot and requires no actual piloting skills. Its camera is equipped with an infrared light for night vision and points down, so it will typically be observing from above.
Unlike a lot of products featuring new, relatively unproven uses of drones we've seen, this is one that's not bootstrapping its efforts on the back of a crowdfunding campaign, at least not yet (the more basic Rook home drone went the Indiegogo route earlier this year.) Sunflower Labs is made up of a team split between Silicon Valley and Switzerland and managed to raise a seed round of funding from investors, reportedly valued at US$2.1 million.
Sunflower Labs is currently taking pre-orders for the system on its website. Pricing targets are currently $159 per Smart Light and $799 for the Flying Camera, but the company also plans to offer the system for a monthly subscription fee. For now, early adopters can get in line for a $25 reservation fee that will be converted to a $100 discount when the system ships in 2017. Sunflower says the reservation fee is fully refundable.