(TMU) – Ring, the controversial door camera and home security service developed by Amazon, has announced its most disturbing product yet, a security camera attached to a drone that will fly around the customer’s home, watching for potential intruders. The autonomous drone is called the Always Home Cam, and it is expected to cost about $249.99 when it goes on sale next year.
Jamie Siminoff, Ring’s founder and “chief inventor,” said that the company has spent the past two years developing the device and called it an “obvious product that is very hard to build.”
Although the device is autonomous, customers will be able to set pre-planned paths that the drone will follow. The drone also makes a noise when it is in flight, so its presence will be obvious to anyone in the room.
A statement from the company also said that obstacle avoidance technology is built into the drone’s operating system, so it will know to avoid people, pets, and other possessions. There will also be guards over the propellers to add additional protection in case the device does happen to collide with someone. The device will only be recording when it is active and flying, so it will likely be docked while customers are home, and the company promises that the device won’t be recording when it is docked.
“Always Home Cam only records when in flight; when it’s not in use it sits in a dock and the camera is physically blocked. And, it’s loud enough so you hear when it’s in motion,” a statement from the company said.
In a short video advertisement for the product, there was a caption that read “Functionality simulated for illustrative purposes only,” so many specifics of how the device will work are still unclear.
The product was revealed along with many other new devices at Amazon’s annual hardware event, which took place on Thursday, September 24th.
As The Mind Unleashed reported last year, Ring is planning to build a database of neighborhood watchlists using facial recognition technology.
Leaked documents revealed that the company is working with law enforcement on a system that will identify people who are considered “suspicious,” and let Ring owners know when these individuals are near their home, using the facial recognition software built into the security system’s cameras.
The software will also give the Ring owner the ability to notify police or call in suspicious activity on their own.
According to the documents, the watchlists would be connected to Ring’s Neighbors app, where owners of the system communicate with their neighbors about packages being stolen from doorsteps and other potential security breaches. While this may sound innocent—or even helpful—critics worry that this technology may empower the kind of neighborhood snitches that call the cops on anyone who they find “suspicious,” typically based on their own prejudices.
These features are not unprecedented for Ring or Amazon. Earlier this year, Motherboard reported that Ring was encouraging its users to snitch on their neighbors in exchange for discounts and free products.