Aptonomy, a drone start-up company, is developing UAV technology that could potentially increase the security of prisons and businesses. Such drones could potentially replace traditional guards in the future.

The company’s security drone was not built from scratch. Instead, the DJI S-1000+, a favorite among filmmakers, was used as a basis. Aptonomy improved the original drone with a second computer to power cameras, speakers, lights and an improved flight controller. What makes Aptonomy’s drone stand out is the proprietary AI and navigation system.

Aptonomy’s security drones can be ordered to fly wherever a motion detector spots any suspicious activity on the ground. The drones are autonomous in more than one sense, as they fly to charge their batteries when power is low.

The start-ups design is an amalgam of two drone types: mapping and professional camera drones. It combines the strengths of both, namely the ability to operate on higher altitudes and face recognition. The drones can record activity that it finds suspicious and provide two-way communication between the drone operator and the intruders.