Robots are already cleaning our homes (and giving free rides to pets), but the market for home security robots is quickly expanding. There are already security bots you can buy today and some exciting ones in development for future release.
The Case for Home Security Robots
There’s plenty of great smart home security technology out there already. Devices such as the Ring camera products are incredibly popular, and if you have an Alexa device, you can make use of Alexa Guard. Guard is a special mode where the microphones in the Alexa device listen for sounds that are typical of a break-in, such as glass breaking.
The security gap that robots can fill in this security setup is the ability to rove around your home and investigate every corner of it. So, at the very least, a security robot is a security camera that can move around, rather than just look around from a fixed spot.
If you add the latest machine vision and sensor technology into the mix, you could have a robot that can detect all sorts of danger or let you know if it sees something suspicious. Movement and autonomy are powerful tools when it comes to security systems and the right technologies exist to make it practical.
Commercial Security Robots
Robots, with their sensors and moving parts, are still quite expensive. Even something as “simple” as a robot vacuum cleaner is still rather pricey. The technology is getting less expensive over time, but as usual, we’re seeing the really sophisticated solutions in the commercial space first.
The Knightscope K5 is an outdoor security robot that looks like a combination of R2-D2, a Dalek, and the AI turrets from Portal. It’s designed to patrol large spaces such as a college campus, mall, or parking lot. The robot offers 360-degree video streaming back to a control center where humans can keep an eye on everything, but it can also automatically detect trouble using its sensor systems and intelligence. The K5 has thermal sensors, a laser range finder, radar, air quality sensor, and can even pick up on suspicious radio signals.
Even the famous Spot robot from Boston Dynamics has found work as a security and inspection robot. Hyundai is planning to implement Spot in their factories in South Korea. The robot will check for safety hazards, such as humans being too close to hot objects, and note things that are out of place, such as doors that are open when they should be closed.
Autonomous Security Drones
Ground-based security robots are great, but if you really want to protect a large area, you need to give your robot wings. Well, propellers in this case, but the idea is the same.
An autonomous security drone or set of drones can constantly patrol an area, looking for anything that’s out of place. The drones fly a patrol path and then land to recharge, all without any human intervention.
There are a few such systems meant for commercial security, but one of the coolest ones we’ve seen so far is the Beehive. Created by Sunflower Labs, the Beehive is a dock that opens up to release a drone, which flies for up to 20 minutes, patrolling its designated area. Then it returns to the Beehive and recharges within 22 minutes, taking the time to process its footage for analysis.
The drone can also react to something reported by another sensor or camera system and fly out to the location in minutes.
Home Security Robots You Can Buy Today
Clearly, commercial security robots are already doing a great job, but what about household security robots? These commercial bots cost thousands of dollars to rent or buy, so a useful security robot in your house might seem outside your budget.
One of the most promising home security robots is the Amazon Astro. This is a little like having Alexa on wheels. At the time of writing, you have to request an invite for the “Day 1 Edition” of the robot. When Astro goes on sale for everyone it should cost just a little under $1500. That’s surprisingly reasonable for a robot that does everything Alexa can, detect unfamiliar people when you are away, and understand something’s wrong when glass breaks or an alarm goes off.
If Astro’s price is a little high for your budget, there are also much cheaper options. The Enabot Ebo SE is a cute little robo-critter that can automatically patrol your house.
Enabot Ebo SE
A cute little surveillance bot that packs more features than you'd expect at its low, low price.
Security robots could really be the missing link in modern smart home security systems because there will always be gaps where fixed cameras and microphones can’t see or hear. We’ve welcomed autonomous vacuums into our homes already, so why not another class of household robots.