US-based automation specialist, Alarm.com, has announced plans to develop autonomous, video-enabled drone applications for homes and businesses at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.

Alarm.com says its multi-sensor awareness and property intelligence, in partnership with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone platform, will deploy drones to investigate unexpected activity.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone platform is an integrated development board that’s smaller than a credit card (58x40mm) and targets consumer drones and robotics manufacturers.

The drones will be designed to autonomously navigate through the property and provide a video feed to businesses or homeowners.

Alarm.com says its Insights Engine applies machine-learning algorithms to the growing dataset generated by devices and sensors in a connected property.

The idea is that the compact drones would be able to recognise complex activity patterns and detect anomalies, proactively responding to events as required.

These insights will enable the video-enabled drone to deploy to the area where unexpected activity was detected or when an alarm is triggered.

Opt-in privacy controls will enable the property owner to share the video feed with a central monitoring station and emergency responders.

Hugo Swart, senior director, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, says: “This is a very interesting application for drones, which at their core are essentially flying cameras and by using other advanced capabilities of our Snapdragon processors, Alarm.com is designing a whole new way to provide security to properties.

“The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight platform pushes the boundaries of the drone industry and has led to many new form factors and use cases and Alarm.com, with its security expertise, is taking commercial and residential security systems to the next level by integrating intelligent and cutting edge drones to its solutions.”

Daniel Kerzner, Alarm.com’s chief product officer, adds: “By analysing data across the devices on our platform, we have created unique capabilities that make properties safer, smarter and more efficient. We’re excited to use Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight to develop similar applications for drones.”

Alarm.com does not currently have a presence in the UK or Europe so it’s not clear if this particular combination will arrive here any time soon.

However, Qualcomm markets its products globally, so there is nothing stopping the chip maker striking other partnerships to create similar functionality for its control boards. Other companies are also likely to be looking at this type of application as the drone industry searches for fresh areas to move into.

Plenty of obstacles, quite literally for this to work, any collisions with property infrastructure or contents, could put potential users off, so performance and reliability is going to have to be top notch.

One thing is certain, this combination won’t be the last to be looking at finding potential ways to introduce drone functionality into the automation space.