Amazon has unveiled a flying camera drone which can be used inside the home to stream video to residents’ phones in case of a break-in.
The device has prompted concerns from privacy organisations and campaigners who warn it could permit unwanted surveillance.
Ring, the Amazon company behind the device, said it was designed with privacy in mind, resting in a dock which physically blocks the camera unless it is launched.
Ever get a Ring Alarm alert and want to immediately see what’s happening? The Ring Always Home Cam is here to help. This compact, lightweight, autonomously flying indoor camera gives even greater visibility when you’re not home. Learn more: https://t.co/A62pZUuYDa [US Only] pic.twitter.com/13cXKtEeSs
— Ring (@ring) September 24, 2020
In an illustrative video – not recorded with one of the actual devices – Ring shows the drone itself being a significant deterrent to an intruder.
“The camera will only start recording when the device leaves the base and starts flying via one of the preset paths,” the company added.
Officially known as the Always Home Cam, the drone will cost $250 (£192) when it goes on sale – initially only in the US.
It can’t be manually controlled and instead will only fly along a pre-set path, although Amazon said “obstacle avoidance technology allows it to avoid unexpected objects as it moves on the pre-set paths”.
As a small lightweight drone, with propellers shrouded by a cage, the device is also designed to avoid injuring pets or damaging any delicate furniture or furnishings.
According to Amazon, the “autonomous indoor security camera flies your chosen, personalised paths so that you can easily check in on your home for peace of mind – like whether someone left a window open or forgot to turn the stove off”.
It can also be integrated with Ring’s home security system and perform a recce if an alarm goes off to see what’s happening.
However it isn’t clear what would stop a burglar from simply knocking the device out of the air.