At its annual Alexa event Thursday, Amazon launched a series of new Ring security products that look to expand its line of cameras to your car and even the airspace above your head. Say hello to the Ring Car Alarm, Ring Car Cam, and Ring Always Home Cam.
Due to arrive in 2021, Ring’s new car products bring security and surveillance to your dashboard in the form of two new products: the $60 Car Alarm and $200 Car Cam.
Like other auto dongles, the alarm plugs into the OBD-II port on your car and delivers alerts to your phone “in the event of bumps, break-ins, tows, and more.” When suspicious activity is suspected, the alarm will send an alert to the Ring app so users can decide whether to trigger the siren. You can also link the alarm to other Ring devices, such as lights and cameras, so they’ll turn on or start recording when an event is triggered.
Also new to the Ring family is the Car Cam, which works both on the road and when parked. The Cam is quipped with a new technology called Emergency Crash Assist, which requests help from first responders when a serious crash is detected. There’s also Traffic Stop, which allows you to ask Alexa to begin recording when pulled over. And when parked, the Cam will use “intelligent sensors” to “actively monitor for bumps and attempted break-ins,” and then send an alert to the Ring app so you can see what’s happening.
It’s not clear how long the camera will record when the car isn’t running or the cost of streaming video over LTE when not connected to a Wi-Fi network. Amazon only says it’ll work via LTE “with an optional connectivity plan.”
Ring is also rolling out a Car Connect API so manufacturers can integrate Ring services into their automobiles. The first company on board is Tesla, and users will be able to watch Tesla Sentry Mode and view recorded driving footage in the Ring app. Ring Car Connect will cost $200, but it’s not clear whether it will be a dealer add-on or a separate purchase from Amazon.
Home is where the drone is
If you have a Ring camera, you know how easy it is to set up zones and alerts so you can keep an eye on the foyer, or say, your kids’ rooms. But static cameras have inherent blind spots. The Ring Always Home Cam is Amazon’s very futuristic solution to that age-old problem. Essentially a mini autonomous drone that patrols your home when you’re away, the Always Home Cam integrates with the Ring Alarm to “automatically fly a set path to see what’s happening.”
If that sounds wild, it is. Amazon says it “had to invent a completely new type of device” so the Always Home Cam could “move freely throughout the home to give more viewpoint flexibility.” It’s smart enough to avoid unexpected objects, stay out of rooms where it’s not wanted, and stay charged by returning to its base.
Since privacy is a big concern with Ring these days, the $250 flying camera cannot be manually controlled and its camera automatically shuts down when docked. It also features end-to-end encrypted video, which is coming to the rest of Ring’s cameras. It’s also seemingly an add-on to the Ring Alarm Security System, which starts at $200 for a five-piece kit.
Amazon says the products will be available in 2021.
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Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.