Sony today announced its own drone, which is scheduled to be launched in spring 2021. The drone, christened "Airpeak", is intended to bring Sony&s considerable know-how in the fields of image and sensor technology as well as 3R technologies (reality, real-time and remote) to bear in the drone sector.
However, Sony has not yet given any details, i.e. information about which (flight/KI) characteristics and capabilities the Airpeak drone will have and which audience (consumers, prosumers and/or professionals) is targeted by the price. Sony would thus be the first (large) camera manufacturer (if you don&t count the failed attempt of GoPro with its Karma Drone 2016) to enter the market segment of intelligent drones dominated by DJI.
The vague announcement only suggests that Sony will probably rather target the professional market and wants to open up new application scenarios:
Airpeak will support creative people in the video sector to the greatest possible extent, with the aim of contributing to the further development of the entertainment industry and to more efficiency and savings in various industries.
Airpeak will also support this project to enable the use of drones with the highest level of security and reliability in environments where this has been difficult in the past.
Sony as a large corporation has many of the key technologies, especially of course (as one of the largest camera and sensor manufacturers) in the area of sensor technology and video recording. The question is, of course, how well Sony can integrate these technologies with the necessary additional technologies such as AI, aeronautics, remote control and video transmission to create a compelling offering.
However, Sony can rely on its experience from the cooperation in the field of drones, which was already started in 2015 together with the Japanese automation specialist ZMP (Aerosense) and named Aerosense. This cooperation has already produced several special drones for professional measurement and inspection from the air - besides quad copters also an interesting VTOL combination of a quad copter with an aircraft with 11kg payload.
As a late entrant into the drones market, Sony cannot afford to make a false start - and in order to convince new customers, Sony would have to outperform DJI&s drones in terms of functionality or at least price/performance ratio, which will be difficult given the high level of development and product maturity of DJI&s drones.
Sony intends to publish further information and collect feedback from drones users until the launch.