Startup Sunflower Labs' Autonomous Drone Security System

By Dan Gelinas, Published Dec 11, 2018, 10:34am EST

Startup Sunflower Labs is claiming a unique design on a home security system, combining autonomous drones and 'Sunflower' sensors. Imagine an intruder tries to break into your home and your automated security drone suddenly appears above them and starts following them and scares them away. That is Sunflower's aim. They are planning a mid- to late- 2019 rollout specifically targeting high-end residential.

Based on our interview with one of the company's co-founders we examine:

  • Company background
  • Ramping up to full production
  • How it works
  • Roll out strategy
  • Pricing
  • Market strategy
  • Potential for 3rd party video monitoring
  • Potential roadblocks to adoption

Company **********

******** ****** ********************* **** *** **-******* in ****** *** **** ******** [link ** ****** *********] and *** ***** ***** [link ** ****** *********].

********* ******* ** ****-**** employees *** ~* *********** and *** ******* ** Zurich *** *** *********.

****** *** ***** * years ** *********, *************** $*.* ******* ** seed *********** ********* **** ************** ********,******* ********, **** ******* [**** no ****** *********]—** ***** investor *** *** ************* ******* **** ***** companies **** ***** ********, apps, *** ******** ** Japan, *** **** ***** [link ** ****** *********]—*** and **-******* ***** ********* ** ******* ******.

How ** *****

*** ****** **** '*********' perimeter ******* (***** **** act ** ********** ******* and ********* ******) ****, when *********, **** ** alert ** ***** *** dispatch *** ********** '***' drones.

*** *****, *****-******* ********** are ******** **** ****** and ********* ********* ******* to ******** ******. ********* said **** ***** ** powered ** *****, *** with *** ********** ******, the ***** ***** ** too ****. ******** ***** is * ********* **** landscape ***** *********:

*******, ********* **** **** are *********** * ***** version **** ** ****** in *** ******.

*** *** ****** * 1080P ******, ~*.*" ****-*** propellers ** ******** ***** and ******** ******.

********* **** *** * pound *** **** **** fly ~* **** ****** than *** ******* ***** of * *****, ********* under ** ****. ********* said ** *** ***** starts ** ***** ******* the ********, ** **** do ** ********* ********** descent *** **** ****.

*******, *** *****'* **** station/charging *******/****** *** ** called *** ****. ** performs *** ********* ********* AI-based *********, ******* ** an ********** ****** ***.

*** **** ******** ** the ******** (**** * wired ******** ** **** connection) *** ********** **** the ****** (*.**** ***-****) and *** ****** ******* (900MHz ****). ** **** has *** (****-**** *********) ***, ***** ** shares **** *** ****** for **********.

*** ***** ***** *********** how *** ****** *****:

Roll *** ********

******** **** ********* **** had * *** ****-**-*** code ** ******* ******* that ***** *** *** product ***** ******** ** those *** ***** **** contained *** *******, *******-***** properties *****. ***** ********* will ******. **** ** the ******** **** *** dealer ******* ** *** has **** ** *** east ***** ** *** US, ***** ** *************'* ****** ******** *** the *******'* ******* ***** at *** ****.

*******

*** ******* *** *** announced ******* *** *** said ** ***** ** so **** **** **** closer ** ******. ******** said **** *** *** market—large, ****-*** ***********—*** ******** would ** ************* ****** with *** **** *** scope ** ****** ****** needed ** ***** **** a ********.

********* **** *** ******* will ** **** ** a ************ ***** **** covers *********, ********* ************, upgrades, *** ******* ********.

******** **** **** *********'* solution ******'* ** * good *** *** ********:

** ***’** ***** ** have **** * ***** door **** * **** cam *** * **** door **** * **** cam, **** **** ***** be *** *** ** go. *** ** *** have ** *********** ** two *** * ***** property, **** **** ***** be ******. *********** ******* are ********** *** **** are *** **** ** a *********. * ***** flying *** *** ********* you ****** ** **** more ** * *********.

Market ********

******** **** **** **** had * ****** ******** coming ** ******. **** would **** ******** ** those ********* *** **** interested *** ****** ** set ** *** ******* the ****** ********** **** he *** ** *** own ****. *******, **** were **** ******** ********** installation ********:

*** **** ** *** should ** **** ** buy ** ******** *** install ** ******** ** you’re ** ********. *******, any *** **** ***** we **** ** ************ partner, **’** **** * function ** *** **** where *** *** ***** your ******* *** **’** populate * **** ** installation ******** ** **** area.

***********, ******** **** **** since ******* *** ********** at *** ******** ******** Expo ** *** ****, they **** *** **** interested ******* ******* ***** becoming ********* ** ******* and *** ** *** system.

**’** ******** ********** **** now. **’** *** ** many ** ***** ********** dealers **** ******* *** show. ****’* **** ** formalized *** *** **** by *** **** ******** and ******* ** **** out *** *** ******* in ********* *****.

******** ********* ***** **** be * ************* ******* by ***** *** ********** dealers *** **** *********** in ** ****.

Potential *** *** ***** ***** **********

*** ********* ******** **** capable ** *********** **** a ********'* ******** ***** systems *** ******** ***** conformance, ********* ** ********.

*******, ******** **** *** company—via *** ********** ** Stanley **** ******* ******** provided *******—*** ******* ****** out * **** **** Stanley's ********** ****** ******** to ******* *** ***** feed *** ********* *** wanted **** ***** ********** of *** ***'* ******.

Potential ********** ** ********

***** *** * *** potential ********** ** ******** that ** *** ***:

***** *********

***** ** * ****** possibility **** * ****** owner's ****-***-************ ********* ***** not **** ** ***** a ***** ***** **** incessantly ***** *** ******** line **** *****. *******, Pachikov **** **** *** neighbor ***** *** ** he ***** *** **** know ****** *** **** mission ** ** ***** get *** **** *** they ***** *** *****. Pachikov **** ******* *** that *** ***'* ******** mission **** *** *** exceed * *******, ** the ***** *** *** airborne *** **** ** a ****.

********* ** ****

******** **** **** ****'* really ********** ********* ********* to **** (***** **** chasing *** ***** ****** the **** ******* ***********), but **** *** **** dogs **** ***** ****** chase * ********'* *** around *** *** **** dogs *** *** ***** to ***** *********, ********, and ******* **** *** day. *****, ** *****, each ******* **** *** not **** ****, ** any *********** ***** ** limited.

*******

********* **** ** *** been ******-******* *** *** in ******* ******* ********** like ********** ***** **** and **** *** **** they ******** ********* *** weather:

** ******* * ********* weather ******** ************** *** we **** *** ****** very ****** **** ** very ****** ****. ** that ****, ** **** the ****. ** **** insist *** ** ***** like *** ****** * wind ** ****, ** will **** ****** ** take ***. *** *** is ** *********** **% of *** ****. *****'* maybe * **** * year **'** **** *******. 20 **** ** **** winds *** ** *******.

********, ******** **** *** system *** * *-****** status ***** **** ******** the ***'* ******* ** fly. ******-******** ******* ******* the ******* *** **** battery ******.

***** *** **** ** go, ****** *** ******* advised, *** *** ******* the *** ***'* ***.

***** ***** *** *** Hive *** *** ********* in *** ****, ******** laughed:

*** *********** ****** ** in ******, ***********. ** know ***** ****. **'** considered ****. *** **** is ******** ****** *** to *** ********* ****** inside *** *** **** is *******. ** *****'* had *** ******** **** snow ******** ** ***.

*******, ******** **** **** if *** **** ** the **** **** *** get *** ******* ***** with **** *** *** Hive **** *** *** able ** ****, *** system ***** **** ** alert ** *** *****'* app ** **** ***** clear *** ****.

******* ******

******** **** *** *** also *** ************ ******** in ***** ** **** things **** ***** ***** off ****** ** *** losing ************* **** *** Hive ** *** **********. Such ******** ******** *** strength ** *** ****** which ******* *** **** acceleration, ************ *** ****** correction, *** *** ** both *** *** *** the ****, ***** ******* for ******* *********

******* ********

******** ****** **** *** Bee *** ******** **** protective ** ******* **** standard ***** ************:

**’** ******** **** ******* conscious **** **** ******** security *******. ****'** ******* on *** ******* ** your **** ****** ******* where **** ******* ********* and *********. **** *** the ********* *** **** inward.

Ramping ** ** **** **********

******** **** **** ******** they **** ************ **** of ***** ******'* ********** during *********** **-*****, **** are ****** * ******** company **** *** **** forced ** *********** ********* to *** *** *****. Pictured ***** ** * pre-production **-******* **** ******* of *** *******'* ********** drone, *** ***:

********* ** ** ***** with *** ***** ************ to **** **** *** help **** **** ** to ******, ******** *********:

** *** ****** * software *******. **’** ** the *********** ********* **** we **** ** ***** our *** ********. *****’* nothing ** *** ****** that ***** *** **** today. *********, *** *** prototypes *** **** ** ourselves, *** ** *** in ********** **** ******* manufacturing ********.

Vote / ****

Comments (17)

Annoyance to pets

What about dogs setting off the Sunflower sensors?

Cool system, I can see a successful future for this type of system.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I heard back from Alex at Sunflower Labs. The Sunflower is equipped with PIR sensors that can be adjusted. Here is what he said when I asked him if there were thresholds that could be set to ensure pet immunity:

The user can choose what to be alerted to and how often.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

The user can choose what to be alerted to and how often.

Said every PIR sensor company ever.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny: 2

Hello Undisclosed #1. Thank you for the question! I was unable to find any information on their site re: pet immunity. I've reached out to Alex at Sunflower to ask the question and will update when I hear back.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I think this system will be fairly pricey the recharging hanger as I understand is about $15K now, there are some competitors emerging but still too high. As for the snow issue that would not be a huge problem but freezing rain would be a issue. To me this is a system that would need to be less than 5K wholesale. Any integrator would need to invest some money in service training etc. and as I see it this is a system that requires more service than the alternative. Expensive homes would get a whole lot more mileage out of SMP robot or a LOOMO that could do the same thing at a ground level. You could even go more traditional and use cameras that could cover the entire property, tied into remote sensors and voice down at a lower cost. This would be great for a rich guy who has too much money the way its being developed is not a killer application but I do hope they find success

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

No mention of FAA regulations on this? Has the FAA stopped requiring line of sight operation, night time waivers, and lightened the regulations around commercial use?

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

Hello Undisclosed #2. I asked Alex about FAA regulations and here is what he said:

 

Currently the regulations will limit what we can do, especially with regard to BVLOS [Beyond Visual Line of Sight]. For now we plan to apply for waivers, and FAA seems to be very receptive to doing that, especially since our drone is very light, flies relatively low, and geo-fences to just your property. 

 
There are also US-wide exemptions that we can apply for. One example is this: 
 
 
In due time we will either apply for one of those, or we expect (and we have reasons to believe this is in the works) the regulations to change to allow operations for drones of our class.
Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Thanks. Sounds pretty un-thought-out to me.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Opinion: Too many moving parts, not efficient. Pass.

Agree: 2
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

What’s this wait for a human crap?

I want my drones scrambled autonomously at the first sign of trouble.

I want continuous guard tours.

I want onboard Sublethal.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful: 1
Funny: 1

I'm definitely interested in testing this. My company has an FAA exemption to operate drones and test new tech.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

This, and systems like this, are the future.  The public is being conditioned to accept robots, and many see robots around the house as inevitable. Industries are already considering the "robot disruption" issue in their production planning sessions.

Roomba was just the first baby step.  If they position the drone system as "robotic", they will be riding the free publicity wave.  Price?  All consumer electronics devices drop rapidly in price over time.  If they find success with the early adopter segment, they may be well positioned as a supplier of the security robotics that we will all be someday demanding. 

Whether or not security dealers will be part of the picture remains to be seen.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Update: Public installation demo from the company:

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Sounds like an uninformed user, making statements that clearly indicate they are either not in the US, or using the system in violation of FAA regulations.

I would also wager that the system was given to them for promotional purposes, and not paid for. Also looks to be a house in the relatively limited climate areas that make using this small airframe drone reliable a majority of the time.

The video makes the drone look like a tech toy for wealthy people to showoff to their friends, not a practical security device.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

But is it Eagle Proof?

Eagles Trained To Take Down Drones

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

...neighbors might not want to watch a drone doing laps incessantly along the property line they share. However, Pachikov said that his neighbor asked him if he could let them know before the next mission so he could get his kids and they could all watch.

brilliant non-answer! could be used to “refute” almost any concern:

Weather

“Actually, my neighbor’s wife is a meteorologist; and they just ordered two hives themselves, so...”

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Related, Ring announced something like this, though indoor only:

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
Read this IPVM report for free.

This article is part of IPVM's 6,912 reports, 924 tests and is only available to members. To get a one-time preview of our work, enter your work email to access the full article.

Already a member? Login here | Join now
Loading Related Reports