Amazon’s latest Ring camera doubles as a security drone

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Amazon's new Always Home Cam doubles as a drone.
Image: Amazon

These days, having home a home security system is a good idea. While there are some privacy concerns regarding in-home security cameras, many people use them anyway. At Amazon’s new products event on Thursday, the e-commerce giant unveiled the Always Home Cam from its Ring division.

It functions as a home security drone that can keep an eye on things when you’re away. By syncing with the rest of Ring’s infrastructure, it can give users a live view of their home as it autonomously flies around.

Sky Roomba

Those who want to place security cameras in their home know that the cost adds up quickly. Aside from that, there are only so many places to install a camera. The Ring Always Home Cam provides a view of the whole home by roaming around it through the air.

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Think of Amazon’s latest home security offering like a Roomba for the sky. It doesn’t offer manual control, but it features collision-avoidance technology to navigate tight spaces and dodge obstacles. Things like hanging light fixtures, plants, and wall hangings won’t be an issue.

The drone’s blades are housed inside a plastic case to protect things in the environment as it passes by. Ring founder Jamie Siminoff describes the Always Home Cam as an “obvious product that is very hard to build.”

It’s easy to imagine the drone camera being useful for things like checking if you closed a window or left the stove on while you’re away from home. However, it is really designed to shine while operating as part of a larger network of Ring security devices.

The Always Home Cam automatically takes flight and starts patrolling when security sensors are triggered in Away mode. For instance, if someone tries to enter your home while you’re away.

A short video from Amazon shows this feature in action. The small, lightweight Always Home Cam isn’t going to fight off an intruder. However, the sight of a flying security camera might be surprising enough to scare them off.

Amazon currently plans to debut the Ring-branded device in 2021. It will ship with a relatively modest price, costing just $250. That’s a bargain compared to other home-patrol drones. One from Sunflower Labs unveiled earlier this year costs $10,000.

Hovering Privacy Concerns

While the Always Home Cam is certainly a neat, futuristic item, there are some looming concerns. The hardware itself isn’t an issue. Amazon and Ring seem to have done a lot of planning to create a safe and effective drone.

The issue lies with privacy. Obviously, inviting a smart security camera into your home puts your privacy at risk. That’s concerning since Ring has been under extreme scrutiny this year for its privacy practices.

To be fair, Amazon attempted to address this with the Always Home Cam. The drone is designed to hum loudly when it is flying to warn people that it’s filming. When it is resting in the dock, the camera is physically obscured.

Still, privacy is something to keep in mind for anyone thinking of buying the Always Home Cam.

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