Sony announces Airpeak S1 drone for professional image makers
Japanese electronics manufacturer Sony Electronics Inc. today announced its first-ever professional drone, the Airpeak S1. It’s the first model in the new Airpeak line. According to Sony, the S1 is the smallest drone of the moment that can be equipped with a full-frame Alpha camera with interchangeable lens. The drone will be released at the end of this year.
high-end drone for professional image makers
the beginning of 2020, Sony first hinted under the name Airpeak to work on a high-end drone for professional image makers. After the company lit a few times a few times in the last few months, the official announcement of the new product line is a reality today. According to Sony, Airpeak offers the most advanced imaging, sensing, AI and robotic technologies the company currently has to offer.
The new drone uses motors, ESCs and propellers developed by Sony, allowing the drone to achieve high flight speeds (up to 90 km/h) and is highly wind-resistant (up to wind force 8). The maximum flight time is 22 minutes without payload, which decreases to approximately 12 minutes with payload such as an α7S III with FE 24mm F1.4 GM. The RCR-VH1 controller was developed with professional image production and freedom of movement in mind. For safety, the drone is equipped with obstacle detection and automatic control based on sensor information. The device can be managed via a cloud application.
Users can equip the drone in combination with different Alpha cameras, depending on their wishes. The Airpeak S1 is compatible with the Alpha 7S Series and FX3, Alpha 7R Series and Alpha 9 Series. The drone can also be used in combination with the Alpha 1, which can shoot in 8K resolution. In turn, the cameras can be equipped with different lenses. The T3 for Airpeak gimbal was developed by Gremsy. Gimbal, camera and lens can weigh up to 2.25 kg together. The drone’s MTOW is 6.8 kg.
To control the drone, Sony developed Airpeak Flight, an iOS and iPadOS-compatible application that brings together the controls of the drone, controller, camera and gimbal, allowing the pilot to check status information such as flight distance and remaining battery charge and the can easily change different settings and modes via a screen interface.
Airpeak S1 also offers a dual operator mode, allowing one user to fully focus on drone control, while another user controls the gimbal and camera. Thanks to a controller tilting FPV (first person view) camera, the pilot can monitor the orientation and direction of flight of the drone. The landing gear can be folded so that the camera’s view is not obstructed during rotational movements.
Position determination and obstacle detection
The Sony Airpeak S1 features 5 stereo cameras: front, rear, left, right, bottom. The data is processed by a Vision Sensing Processor developed for this purpose. Thanks to special algorithms, the spatial position and orientation of the drone is accurately estimated in real time, allowing a controlled flight even in environments where satellite navigation is not available, such as indoor or under bridges.
The Airpeak S1 is equipped with a flight controller developed by Sony that integrates all the sensor information from the IMU, gyroscopes, barometer and infrared distance meter and controls the drone based on that. The Airpeak S1 uses multi-directional sensors to avoid obstacles. The front, rear, left and right stereo cameras and the infrared spacer at the top recognize obstacles near the device, allowing the drone to automatically slow down and stop as needed.
All device information, including logs, can be uploaded to the cloud via the Airpeak Flight app. This information can be viewed in Airpeak Base, a web application that allows the operator to manage equipment, create flight plans and manage flight logs. In the equipment management, information about the equipment used is automatically displayed and managed based on the flight log. This allows the operator to check the status of the drone before flying, which minimizes problems on the set.
With Airpeak Base, the pilot can create advanced flight plans and automatically allow the drone to travel the same trajectory repeatedly. In addition, the position (latitude, longitude and altitude) and speed of the drone can be set on a timeline, as well as the orientation of the gimbal and instructions for taking video or photo shots. Reproduction flight is an automatic flight function that reproduces the flight path, gimbal and camera movements based on flights that have flown in the past.
Price and availability
The suggested retail price of the new Airpeak S1 is around 9,000 dollars. The drone comes with two pairs of 17” propellers, a controller, two batteries and a battery charger. A gimbal developed by Gremsy specifically for the Airpeak S1 will be sold separately. The Airpeak S1 will be available for pre-order and shipped to customers in the fall of 2021, Airpeak S1 will be made in Japan. By that time, customers can also request more information about the additional Airpeak Protect warranty plan and the Airpeak Plus cloud service.
Sony Group will be exhibiting Airpeak S1 for the first time at Japan Drone 2021, a drone conference to be held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan from 14-16 June 2021, as well as Izumi Kawanishi, Senior Vice President, AI Robotics Business, Sony Group Corp on the morning of June 14 2021 provide a keynote speech that can be viewed at https://ssl.japan-drone.com/en_la/.
More information about the Sony Airpeak is available at https://electronics.sony.com/airpeak.