Hawkeye is an Indoor Drone Security GuardBy - 07/07/2016
4/28/2017 UPDATE: Hawkeye’s crowdfunding campaign was unsuccessful. The team behind Hawkeye has halted production.
I recently reviewed an indoor home security drone called Rook, which I gave a thumbs down for many reasons. First, it relies on your navigation skills to patrol your home, which is not very easy to do if you’re miles away. Second, it isn’t always monitoring as it lacks sensors. What if someone break-ins while Rook is on a break? Third, a fully charged battery only gives you 5 minutes of flying time. Lame.
Another startup, Hawkeye Innovations, is creating an indoor home security drone called Hawkeye. And by the looks of it, it appears to be better than Rook. But is it better enough?
Hawkeye Innovations claims Hawkeye is the “first ever fully autonomous IoT Indoor Drone Security Guard.” They can make this claim because the device is guided by nothing but algorithms and a map of your home. The company does not specify how Hawkeye will map your home, but it may be by placing it in different rooms or by walking around your house with your smartphone to create a virtual map. Regardless of how it’s done, once the map is ready, Hawkeye analyzes it and creates routes to cover a larger area within a shorter period of time. The current prototype effectively covers a 1600 square foot area, but they plan to eventually make Hawkeyes that can work as a team, covering larger homes or businesses.
During flight, Hawkeye uses obstacle avoidance to navigate safely. It can avoid objects, pets, and even people. On top of that, it can fly back to its charging station after patrolling or when its battery is running low.
Speaking of batteries, Hawkeye is said to last 20 minutes when fully charged while running all its features. When just flying, and not using strobe lights or recording, it can last even longer. To compare, Rook currently has 5-minutes of flying time, cannot fly back to its charging station on its own, and needs as much time to charge as Hawkeye (which is 45 minutes).
Hawkeye For Security
Hawkeye protects your home in two ways—by patrolling and by detecting disturbances.
In patrol mode, you can set what time or how often you want Hawkeye to patrol, set specific routes for different times, or simply have it patrol random routes at random times. You can also manually patrol your house and watch a live feed as you fly around.
While patrolling, Hawkeye activates infrared detection. It uses this to look for things that emit infrared, like people. If there’s a person, it immediately notifies you and gives you the option to disarm, call 911, talk to the intruder using two-way voice, or activate the strobe lights and siren. It will also follow the person while it records and stores videos in the Hawkeye cloud.
Since pets also emit infrared, Hawkeye includes technology that allows it to avoid pets. Though they haven’t shared how this is done, my best guess is that the infrared detector is set to a lower sensitivity level.
When disturbance detection mode is armed, Hawkeye sits on its charging base while keeping watch for disturbances like breaking glass or forcible entry. It does so using its sound sensor. If it hears anything out of the ordinary, it will navigate to the sound. It will again use infrared detection to search for an intruder, and it will send a notification to your smartphone with response options if an intruder is detected. If you don’t respond to the alert immediately, Hawkeye will alert the police.
To have disturbance detection enabled, Hawkeye needs to be armed. But what if your cleaner comes? You can give guests either permanent or temporary access to Hawkeye. All they need is the app and your permission.
Hawkeye takes an aggressive approach to home security. It doesn’t intend to sit around passively while someone ransacks your home. Aggression is a practical approach since drones are not discreet enough to avoid attention. So instead of trying to be discreet and failing, they’ve added strobe lights and a siren to reinforce its aggressiveness.
If someone wants to destroy Hawkeye, they might succeed, but Hawkeye won’t go down without a fight. If it ever gets to that point, Hawkeye will use its evasion algorithms along with its high power motors to dodge attacks. There’s no guarantee that it will work, so as a backup, the videos are sent simultaneously to the cloud. If it is destroyed, you can still help the police by presenting video evidence.
In Hawkeye’s words:
“Hawkeye is strictly a vacant home monitoring system that can detect and deter criminal activity when no one is supposed to be home.”
You can use Hawkeye to secure your home while you are at work or away, but you can’t use it to protect your home against home invasions. If you want 24/7 protection, you need a home security system.
Is It Retail Ready?
While Hawkeye is ready to do the job, I wouldn’t call it retail ready yet. For one, it won’t ship until June of next year. It is currently being crowdfunded on IndieGogo. Also, price. Hawkeye’s pre-order price is $999, which includes the drone and the charging station. Considering that it cannot protect your home 24/7, that’s pricey. When asked why so expensive, Hawkeye Innovations had this to say:
“As a first of its kind, development comes at a price. Our hopes after funding is to come up with better, and more price friendly systems which can be made available to everyone.”
If you want to see more, you can help them out by backing their Indiegogo campaign.