LAS VEGAS -- Intel, the world's biggest chip maker, is positioning itself at the forefront of the rapidly growing drone market by acquiring German company Ascending Technologies to help it deploy its camera technology, which allows drones to avoid obstacles automatically. The acquisition comes after some of Ascending Technologies' drones incorporated Intel's RealSense camera technology and the U.S. company last year made an investment in the German company.

Intel has not revealed how much it has paid for the drone maker but has said all Ascending Technologies' employees will be offered positions within Intel.

In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Intel said the partnership would help improve, among other things, drone safety by combining the RealSense technology with Ascending Technologies' "best-in-class drone auto-pilot software and algorithm." The company added that it is "positioning itself at the forefront of this opportunity to increasingly integrate the computing, communications, sensor and cloud technology required to make drones smarter and more connected."

Drones are set to be one of the biggest trends at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES)  taking place in Las Vegas this week. For some perspective, at CES 2014 there were just four exhibitors in the unmanned systems marketplace. At CES 2016 there will be 27 exhibitors, with the marketplace covering 25,000 net square feet of exhibit space, a 200 percent increase over the 2015 show, indicating just how fast this sector is growing.

As well as Intel's announcement, fellow U.S. chip maker Qualcomm has announced  a dedicated drone chip and at the show will demonstarte a drone using the the modified Snapdragon chip. Intel's CEO Brian Krzanich will be delivering a keynote address at CES on Tuesday, where he is likely to expand on the company's drone plans.