Should we invite Amazon’s internet-connected cameras and voice assistants into our homes? That’s been a contentious topic for years — but today, Amazon effectively said “screw it” and announced an entire automated flying indoor robot security system.
Yes, that’s right: Amazon’s Ring division now has a camera that can theoretically go anywhere in your home, not just the direction you initially point it. Or, in Amazon’s words: An Innovative New Approach to Always Being Home.
Needless to say, the staff of The Verge has a few questions about that.
In no particular order and without naming names:
Can it go up and down stairs? Why does it look like an air humidifier? What’s battery life like? Does the drone play slap bass? How does it map your house, anyhow? Where do those pictures go? Could someone at Ring HQ fly this camera drone around my house? Could one of Ring’s employees abroad fly this camera drone around my house? Could hackers fly this camera drone around my house? Could the cops fly this camera drone around my house? What if they had a court order? Is Amazon really going to say no? Is it a good cat toy? Can I program it to follow me around and say “HEY! LISTEN!”? How far can it fly? How far can I throw it? What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? How well does it dodge Nerf darts? No particular reason for asking. Can it be decorated for parties? Does Amazon’s catchphrase “Privacy you can hear” mean this drone is actually louder than other drones, or does it simply mean it is a drone and drones are loud? How does it avoid ceiling fans, lights, and other protruding objects? What if I move my furniture? Who is liable if it runs into a ceiling fan… or a painting? Will it truly only fly when no one is home, and, uh… how does it know that, exactly? Does it know not to take off when pets are roaming the house? What keeps my cat / dog / monkey / parakeet from swatting it out of the air? If I map my house and then close a bunch of doors when I go out, is it going to butt its head on the first door until it passes out and dies? On that note, can I trap it in a room? How many crashes is it rated for? Can you get two of them to battle it out, or is it only one per account? How long can it fly? What if it doesn’t make it back to its charger in time? Does it fall out of the air? Why would anyone with the money to have a home security system choose something that’s this kind of pain in the ass? Is it going to be like my Roomba and just become a potato if it encounters an unfamiliar obstacle in the corner? Wait, what if I have a motion-sensing alarm (say, from Ring) and then the drone flies in front of the sensor? If I pay for Nest Aware and my Amazon Echo hears a drone flying around inside my house, will it notify me? Will it invite its parents the 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith and Mega Man 3’s Top Man over for holidays or do I have to do that myself? If I rob a home and, y’know, wear a mask, is there literally anything this drone could actually do to scare me away? Could it carry a one-pound coconut? Can it shoot pepper spray? Genuinely, why is there not a pet mode? The only good use for this. Can you program it to make the rounds in synch with your Roomba? And will they become friends? What if nothing ever happens in my house, because break-ins are not actually that common? Will this just sit in its stand for years, unused? Will anyone ever hold Ring accountable for making us all more afraid of strangers even though the statistics show violent crime has fallen sharply?
For the answers we do know about Amazon’s new Ring drone, here’s our news post.