Sensing when someone is walking up our path?

There’s a whole range of motion, distance sensors and beam sensors that I could use to detect when someone is walking up our path with ESPHome. Who’s put together an outdoor solution and what do you recommend?

We’ve got a camera at the top of the steps that uses Frigate and tells the google home to say “Ding dong” when someone is detected. But there’s enough of a delay in processing that they are already at the door when that goes off. Would like a bit more notice so I can put on pants.

  • The gap we’re wanting to span is about 1.5m 2m at the widest.
  • If possible I’d like the electronics to all remain on one side of the path.
  • It would need to work, or at least not throw a ton of false positives in wind rain and sun.
  • not get freaked out by plants moving nearby
  • We’ve got a cat that it would need to be able to ignore.
  • I’m happy 3d printing an enclosure, so bare boards aren’t an issue, but waterproof is better.

What are your thoughts about ir beams, PIR, mm wave presence detection, tof distance sensors, ultrasonic, freaking lasers, anything else?

PIRs are terrible outside. They will false trigger every time the sun comes out from behind a cloud.

There are dual PIR / Microwave sensors that are supposed to alleviate this issue but the microwave detector will false trigger on movement of bushes. So if you have a windy partly cloudy day you still get false triggering. I never had any luck with these.

Same for just microwave sensors outdoors. Moving foliage will trigger them.

ToF might work, beam break should be fine (put it higher than dog level).

The way I solved this was in-camera object detection. The Dahua cameras I have can detect vehicles and people extremely reliably and quick. 1 to 2 seconds for detection, not as quick as a PIR but no false alerts. They can report via Onvif or the 3rd party Dahua integration. I moved over to Onvif as the 3rd party integration added a minute to my HA start up time (for 7 cameras). I do lose the ability to differentiate between vehicle and people with Onvif (not an issue for my driveway) but it has cut 30 seconds from my restart time.

The only time I got a false alert in over a year was when a spider moved across the a camera and it did look like a running man!


Thanks for the insight. Helps me rule out some options. I’d love it to pick up dogs as we don’t have one, I have however found a very cute one on our steps I unfortunately had to reunite with it’s owner.

I also found this neat camera in my searching, it’s not got video output but has a “do I see a face” binary output over i2c or on a pin.

Might be easier than running ethernet to where I want to put the sensor for a full blown camera.

Funny I was going to post that earlier, but figured it wasn’t quite the right fit.

I got one and did limited testing and it worked pretty well.

I figure for your application person rather than face detection would be better.

They are pretty cool sensors though.

There’s also this custom component for it with more features than the native one.

Because I also use a few (5) Dahua cameras and a Dahua NVR under HA, I have a small question. The fact that rroller’s Dahua addon has not been supported for months and has not been further developed. is of course a great shame because it used to be very good. In the meantime, more and more problems are emerging and rroller no longer responds to issue reports. But ok then unfortunately that’s the way it is and I/we have to accept it.

I only use my Imou (Dahua) DB61i doorbell (also identical to the Amcrest AD410) with the Dahua addon from rroller and this still works very well and the loading time of the Dahua addon is not too long (between ~ 12 and 15 seconds).

I have been integrating all my Dahua cameras and my Dahua NVR via Onvif for a while now. However, as you have already written, there is no person and vehicle detection because it is not implemented in Onvif. There don’t seem to be any sensors for this in the Amcrest integration of Home Assistant either.

Hence my question: rroller uses the Dahua API for its addon, which is virtually identical to the Amcrest API. This means that theoretically it should also be possible to implement person and vehicle detection via the Amcrest integration and “only” a developer would have to be found to implement things with the Amcrest integration. Am I correct so far?

I have used takex pr-11be reflector active beam before. Is single ended but active beams work best with a transmitter and receiver.
Ie frost on the reflector but at your range I doubt would be an issue.
There are external pirs that’s use 2 desperate detection zones that will ignore animals etc but mounting height is critical.

I’m a security engineer and fit these things


would be good to see your frigate config, there are a number of things that can be done to reduce latency

Frigate day works really well for me and I have automations on person occupancy. However, it doesn’t work so well at night, unless you have proper distinct IR light to allow proper illumination. The best sensor of all is my IR beam and ESPHome across the gate; set it about 100cm above ground to avoid rabbits, dogs and cats. Instant reaction.

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Submitting a few in the comedy category.





LOL. My poodle is the quickest reaction!

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I’ve tried one of these. Can’t remember if it false triggered with changing sunlight as I could not use it as the detection zones were too far away. I needed to cover from 1m under the PIR to 6m away. It only triggered after about 3m.

I’ve used the take and gjd devices with great success. We use the for police response cctv in the UK. False alarms are not am option.
Do you know what the device was?