Here is what Alex had to say, but first a little about his product from their recent press release.
- At CES 2020, Sunflower Labs will begin accepting preorders for the Sunflower Home Awareness System, featuring AI-powered activity sensors and in what they call a fully autonomous residential security drone.
The system consists of three components:
The Sunflowers: AI-enabled sensing are disguised as garden lights. Each Sunflower houses an array of motion and vibration sensors to constantly monitor activity on the property. Sunflowers are capable of detecting and differentiating people, animals and cars, and displaying the activity on a map in real-time.
The Bee: A lightweight, fully-autonomous drone that navigates safely to observe activity on your property. The Bee has advanced features such as automatic deployment, fully autonomous flight, ultrasonic collision-avoidance sensors, high-precision differential GPS, and live streaming video. Designed for a precise, reliable landing every time, the Bee includes a unique landing camera and rounded cone shaped structure to ensure it docks smoothly even during adverse weather conditions. It can be deployed in seconds using the mobile app, and flies to inspect and shoot video footage within a property’s geofenced border.
The Hive: This sleek protective housing and charging station not only keeps the Bee safe and powered up—it’s also the brains of the entire system, with world-class signal processing and analysis enabled by an NVIDIA Jetson TX2 processor. The entire system is weatherproof and reliable in all weather conditions.
The Sunflower Labs mobile app serves as a control center for owners to receive insights and notifications about activity on their property, launch drone flights and view live aerial video from anywhere in the world.
Starting January 6, a limited number of Sunflower Home Awareness Systems will be available for preorder with a deposit of $999. The base price for the system is $9,995—final pricing may vary based on customization of the Sunflower sensor array.
The company estimates that it will deliver the first systems to customers in mid-2020.
Here is what Alex had to say when we caught up with him:
DroneLife: You and I spoke about a year ago, and you told us about your plans for the system. At a price point of almost $10K, what market are you looking to service? Who is going to be your client?
Alex: We are focusing on high end residential – that’s where we had the most interest, it is a high end product.
DL: How did you come to this price point?
Alex: It is expensive to build autonomous drone security systems . Home systems run up to $50 grand. Wiring and mounting camera’s are much of the costs. People have to do that no matter what type of system you choose. If you need more than half a dozen cameras, we are cost competitive. More than that, we are mostly cheaper.
DL: What stage are you in the development cycle?
Alex: We are now finishing beta: a year ago we were in alpha test. In the last year we have redefined our systems with a larger propeller that has a better noise level than smaller ones, in addition to being more stable. We changed the design of the Hive as the doors used to slide upwards. We’ll demo at CES, and will deploy by mid next year when we ship our first productions systems.
DL: You have added some functionality since we last spoke. How did you decide what to add and what to leave out in a first release?
Alex: Monitoring will be done by the client. We have interest from monitoring companies to monitor our system and will announce that as a phase 2.
DL: Are you going to sell direct or through a channel?
Alex: Initially direct and later channels.
DL: What are the issues regarding privacy both now and in the future? Where will it ship first?
Alex: US first and maybe NA. We provide more privacy than normal security cameras: we are geo-fenced going inward, while most security cameras are mounted and facing outward.
DL: What was harder than you thought it would be?
Alex: The single most difficult thing is the landings, the ability to land precisely and in bad conditions to the base station for recharging. There is a video of us doing resiliently testing with our system. There is a lot of IP doing, and I tried with using a leaf blower and power washer. One day I grabbed it and threw it to try to break it, and now it is something that we test for every release.
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