Amazon launches flying drone camera for the home

Lets customers see inside their homes when they're not at home

Irina Ivanova – CBS News Moneywatch

Amazon is expanding its line of Ring home-security products to include a flying indoor camera, as well as a car camera and alarm.

The indoor drone, called the “Ring Always Home Cam,” is designed to let customers see inside their homes when they’re not in—perhaps to check if the stove is on, or if someone has broken in. The Seattle technology company giant unveiled its new products at a pre-recorded event on Thursday.

The $249 camera can fly only along pre-set flight paths, according to Amazon. The drone can also be set to detect motion and to automatically fly toward it.

A demonstration video of the flying camera in action depicts a would-be thief breaking into a house, only to be scared off when the absent homeowner sends the drone in the thief’s direction. The device still needs authorization from the Federal Communications Commission, the demo video noted.

Leila Rouhi, Ring’s president, emphasized the privacy features of the Ring Always Home Cam in Thursday’s event. The dock in which the drone rests blocks the camera so that it can only record while it’s in flight. Rouhi also noted that the device is loud enough to be heard when in flight.

Amazon’s Ring Always Home Cam (upper left) flies through a house in a simulation from Amazon. SCREENSHOT

Privacy has been a concern for Amazon after reports that its voice-enabled speakers have recorded customers without their knowledge and made recordings available to the company’s workers. Ring has shared customer data with other tech companies, a practice that it said it would change. Ring and Nest products have also been shown to be susceptible to hackers.

Rouhi noted on Thursday that the Ring system would include end-to-end video encryption as an option.

Car security

Amazon is also rolling out several car alarms under the Ring line. In addition to a Ring car alarm, Amazon is offering a car camera that functions as an alarm. The camera is pre-set to record traffic stops with a voice command and can be set to alert others when someone is pulled over

A demonstration of Amazon’s Ring Car Cam. The product will be available for purchase in early 2021, the company said.AMAZON

The vehicle alarm costs about $60, while the car camera costs about $200. The auto products will be available starting early next year, Rouhi said.