Autonomous surveillance from the air

Sunflower Labs was founded in 2016 with the idea of offering real estate owners an automated and autonomous drone surveillance system. The system can be integrated with an existing security system. The moment sensors report unauthorized persons in the defined controlled area, a drone autonomously flies independently to the location from where the alarm was registered and sends in live feed precise and accurate recordings of the occurrence to the central security office and the operator.

The drone surveillance system was already able to be used in pilot projects in various sectors in larger areas, especially where camera view is limited, to perform real-time observations, routine patrols as well as fast person and vehicle recognition. With that vandalism, theft and unauthorized access to property can be fended off. It is currently being tested to see, if it can also be advantageous in other cases for application. The system is designed so private space is always maintained.

How does the system work?

Sunflower Labs calls the drone surveillance system the «Sunflower Labs Beehive System». It is made up of an automatic, flying drone, the so-called ‘bee’, and a relatively compact base station, the ‘hive’. The operating drone is monitored by an operator with a license for flying unmanned flying objects.

The hive is a fast charging system and also houses the brain for the entire system. Here the concept and design ensure that the bee finds its way safely and autonomously to the hive. All data recorded by the drone is transmitted to the hive and processed directly there with machine learning algorithms and neuronal networks. The bee can fly to the site of the incident in cases relevant to security to facilities up to 600 m² within 30 seconds to capture the situation on camera. For facilities up to 1000 m², it can be on-site within 90 seconds to transmit images, according to its developers. The videos and photos from the high-powered camera are transmitted to the central, wireless and encrypted, and can be saved to local devices or the cloud.

The system can be easily operated with an app, which Sunflower Labs developed for smart phones and tablets. A 3-D map of the areal is automatically created. The bee automatically plans a safe flight path in the previously mapped premises, which has been limited by geofencing. Thanks to its integrated sensors, it recognizes unexpected obstacles and autonomously plans evasive maneuvers to prevent crashes. It performs a security scan and then returns back to its base.

Important detail: the drone camera also functions reliably in poor lighting conditions and delivers night recordings that have been lightened perfectly for the human eye. The drones can lift off in heavy snowfall and moderate rain should not be a problem, ensures Sunflower Labs. Allowable operating temperatures lie between minus 10 and plus 40 degrees Celsius for the drone and respectively minus 20 degrees and plus 50 degrees for the base station.

Thanks to the large rechargeable battery integrated into the system, it is immune to power outages. It ensures one hour of operating time during a blackout. Using optional LTE technology, it also stays in communication in such cases.

Why Zollner Electronics GmbH in Hombrechtikon as a partner?

Sunflower Labs searched for a local partner, whose global footprint can ensure scalability, also for the targeted global sales and distribution regions, and applicably support them in all areas of industrial engineering. It was important to Sunflower Labs to have a reliable partners with a high quality standard, one that places process reliability in the forefront and is able to support them internationally in long-term and stable partnership from industrial engineering all the way to after-sales service. The closeness between developers and production brings enormous additional advantages to this partnership. Before the system could be sent directly to global Sunflower Labs customers, the bee had to  take off in one final, defined functional test after production and land safely in the hive.

Zollner in Hombrechtikon not only works in the area of electronics production and mechatronic system construction for large, established companies looking for a partner with reliable processes but also smaller operations for which more agility and flexibility is required.

Collaboration with Sunflower Labs starts with industrial engineering, goes into serial production and stretches in cooperation with our headquarters in Zandt and other locations all the way to supporting qualification processes and support in the after-sales area.

Also in the area of materials procurement, Zollner offers enormous advantages, especially to small and medium-sized companies in Switzerland, thanks to the central purchasing division at the Zandt headquarters (Bavaria, Germany) and global purchasing office. Altogether, a win-win situation is created for both companies – the basis for a trusting and long-term partnership.


Information service
Zollner Electronics GmbH
Garstligweg 2, 8634 Hombrechtikon
Tel. 043 244 42 00, Fax 043 244 42 01,