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Will security drones become a new norm for the super wealthy?




The rich and famous have long protected their homes using alarms, security doors and CCTV cameras.

UAVs provide an unparalleled ability for a homeowner to get an eagle-eye view of their property and with drone technology constantly advancing, are autonomous security drones likely to become a tool favoured by society’s well-off? One silicone valley startup certainly seems to think so.

Sunflower Labs is a company founded in San Francisco in 2015 by Swiss engineers. They specialise in home security solutions and utilise a combination of sensors and drones to secure a property. Their typical setup for a client includes a bee (security drone), a hive (the charging base for the drone) and sunflowers (1.5 foot sensors which look like garden lamps and detect vibrations and illuminate when someone draws near).

Sunflower Labs are about to launch a subscription to their system in California. For a few hundred dollars a month, a subscriber receives a fully automated security system including a bee, a hive and several sunflowers placed around their property. Given the cost, they are very much intended for a more affluent homeowner and would probably suit someone with a big garden, as opposed to a tiny townhouse.

The bee will normally remain dormant but will notify an owner’s phone if one of the sensors is triggered (through vibration or movement near one of the sunflowers). If the user gives the go ahead, the bee will immediately deploy to capture 1080p video of what’s going on. The footage captured by the drone will only be uploaded and saved to the cloud once it lands. Part of the advantage of notifying the owner before deploying the drone is that potentially a mail deliverer or animal may trigger the sunflower sensors.

Other advantages of this system are that a property owner can launch one of the bees using smartphone app. Whether an intruder would immediately skedaddle upon being caught under the bright lights and whirr of a drones rotors, we’re not sure but as with security lights and guard dogs, it would probably scare off the majority of would-be thieves.

A Sunflower labs autonomous drone bee and charging hive setup

Under current FAA regulations, you cannot fly your drone above the heads of unwitting people, so the Sunflower setup will be limited to use inside people’s yards and not patrolling the neighbourhood.

Story and Youtube video of drone in action on page 2

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