Batteries not included: Could reconnaissance drones for the home be on the horizon?

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Adam Bannister is a contributor to IFSEC Global, having been in the role of Editor from 2014 through to November 2019. Adam also had stints as a journalist at cybersecurity publication, The Daily Swig, and as Managing Editor at Dynamis Online Media Group.
January 5, 2017

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In the 1987 sci-fi feelgood movie ‘Batteries not included’, the arrival in a hard-up family’s apartment of small, sentient spaceships is a solution for the maintenance and upkeep of their home as well as their more serious problems.

The flying saucer type objects, which are equipped with cute eyes and robotic arms and legs, quickly set about repairing everything broken in the apartment. They even repair a vandalized café downstairs and help the elderly couple who run it cook the food and get the orders out.

It’s a bit of a stretch to say that Alarm.com and Qualcomm’s mooted collaboration – reported by CNET –might promise similar wonders.

For a start the concept – whereby camera-equipped drones fly through your home to investigate anomolous activity – is more about reconnaissance than conducting repairs themselves.

For all the staggering pace of technological change right now, we’re not quite there yet.

Nevertheless, it’s a pretty mind-blowing concept if they make it happen.

We’ve seen the migration of video surveillance into the private home, with Wi-Fi enabled models proliferating in recent years. And we’ve witnessed the rise of drones as both commercial tools and something for adults and children to play with down the park.

But the notion of using them as reconnaissance vehicles within the home is something of a bold idea.

Alarm.com, a subscription-based home security provider, is partnering with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Flight Drone Platform to make this happen, CNET reports.

The drones, which would be totally autonomous, would fly to, say, the site of an unusual noise or tripped motion sensor, record footage with their on-board camera and send the resulting video to your smartphone.

“The Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight platform pushes the boundaries of the drone industry and has led to many new form factors and use cases,” says Hugo Swart, senior director of product management for Qualcomm Technologies Inc. “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.”

Alarm.com’s ‘Insights Engine’, which uses machine learning, would help drones learn how to spot anomalous activity in the home.

An Alarm.com representative told CNET that the drones might be showcased at some point this year, but that an official release timetable is not yet confirmed.

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