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Smarter home security with smart lights and a flying camera

Smarter home security with smart lights and a flying camera
Sunflower Labs is building a new type of outdoor home security system, using intelligent sensors and an autonomous drone that investigates what the sensors detect.
The concept of smart home has brought in a new dimension to residential security. Once limited to just cameras and an access control system, home security solutions today are increasingly becoming more sophisticated, user-friendly and powerful.

So far, though, no company appears to have attempted to incorporate an autonomous drone into their residential security systems. But Sunflower Labs, a Palo Alto, California-based company is doing just that.

Sunflower Labs is building a new type of an outdoor home security system, using intelligent sensors, which the company calls Sunflower Smart Lights, and an autonomous drone that investigates what the sensors detect.

“The sensors are capable of detecting motion in 360 degree, ground vibration (specifically footsteps) and unusual sounds and noises,” said Alex Pachikov, CEO of Sunflower Labs. “Multiple sensors work together to triangulate activity happening on your property and react to it appropriately. If an unusual event is detected, the system will deploy a Flying Camera to investigate. It flies autonomously to the location of the event, guided by the sensors on the ground, and streams live video back to the user.”

The key to the solution, according to Pachikov, is in software, including all the technology for the detection and identification of activity on any given property, determination of the level of threat, localization and autonomous navigation of the drone, among other things.

“We developed the hardware as well because there was nothing on the market that was suitable for our needs,” Pachikov added. “Our sensors are unique since they effectively masquerade as garden lights -- something that we haven’t seen any other security product do. Our drone uses a custom flight controller - which allows us to program it as we see fit - and provides auto-landing and auto-charging capabilities which we have not found commercially available in other drones.”

The company expects drones to play a much more important role in everyday lives in the future. Right now they are still seen as toys, but it is clear that the industry is moving into vertical uses for drones, and security is going to be one them. According to Pachikov, the excitement could drive the initial adoption, while the flexibility, privacy and deterrence capabilities of drones as security devices may drive further adoption and acceptance.

Of course, the solution will be most suited for houses with large compounds and this could also be its limitation when it comes to demand. But in an ideal setting, the solution does promise to go beyond conventional security systems in protecting the home.

“Combined with our advanced sensors, this solution offers complete property awareness and dynamic observation of any part of the home and property,” Pachikov said. 

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