Sony is preparing to enter the drone market, though at this stage it’s giving little away about its precise plans.
The Japanese tech company posted a 15-second teaser video (top) on YouTube this week that shows a close-up shot of spinning propeller blades, ending with the name of the new brand: “Airpeak.”
An accompanying message released to the media was equally careful not to give too much away, though the wording suggests it could be planning to release drones for hobbyists, creators, and industry, with artificial intelligence playing a role in its drones’ capabilities.
“The recent proliferation of drones has contributed greatly to the delivery of previously unseen images, as well as to workflow efficiency and energy savings in the industrial sector,” Sony said in its vaguely worded release.
It added: “Airpeak will support the creativity of video creators to the fullest extent possible, aiming to contribute to the further development of the entertainment industry as well as to improved efficiency and savings in various industries. Airpeak will also promote this project to enable drone-use with the highest level of safety and reliability in the environments where this has been difficult in the past.”
While Sony has dabbled in the drone market before via its “Aerosense” collaboration with Tokyo-based autopilot technology firm ZMP, that particular industry-focused effort featured a fixed-wing machine designed for tasks such as measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting land or equipment. Airpeak, on the other hand, looks set to feature rotor-based copters as part of an apparent effort to target both the consumer and industrial sectors.
This will put it in direct competition with Chinese firm DJI, which currently dominates the drone market with popular consumer machines such as the Mavic quadcopters, as well as more advanced flying machines for industry such as the Matrice hexacopter range.
For sure, it’s a brave company that enters the drone market — just ask GoPro — though Sony is in some ways well placed to take on DJI. Firstly, it’s a massive company and so can invest heavily in such an endeavor. And secondly, with its camera and image sensor business already well established, Sony has an integral part of the product pretty much ready to go. Now it just has to build an incredible flying machine.
The company has promised to reveal more information about its plans for the drone market in the coming months, ahead of a more substantial announcement in the spring of 2021.