Sony, once known for the Walkman and its iconic televisions, is now entering the rapidly growing commercial drone market. The company this week launched a camera drone, in the shape of an airplane, which can land and take off vertically and move at speeds up to 106 mph.
Aerosense, the maker of the aircraft, is a joint enterprise controlled by Sony and Japanese robotics company ZMP, which is specialized in autopilot know-how.
The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has the capacity to fly faster and further than conventional drones, partly because it moves like a plane. The drone also utilizes rotors arranged in quadcopter design to take off upwards like a helicopter.
The UAV can carry a maximum of 25 pounds and move without stopping for 22 hours at a velocity of 106 miles per hour.
But if you were thinking about snagging one of the innovative drones, don’t get your hopes up. They’re designed for businesses looking to conduct airborne reconnaissance and surveillance missions, as well as “measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting.”
Aerosense is also looking to offer organizations services such as examining old infrastructure and assessing land that is hard to access. The gadgets would be piloted mechanically, following input from users specifying which areas they wanted assessed.
Hisashi Taniguchi, chief executive of Aerosense and ZMP said, “By making them automated, drones will be considerably safer because many of accidents today are caused by human error.”
It’s all good news for technology and internet companies, including Google and Amazon, which are presently studying drones for parcel delivery. More competition in the market means more innovative solutions and lower prices for the would-be drone delivery companies.
Taniguchi said that ZMP is targeting $82.6 million in profits by 2020.
Though the drone is indeed striking, it’s not the first revolutionary idea to be suggested for UAVs. U.S. planemaker Boeing, seemingly left out of the drone market thus far, has just copyrighted a drone that would be able to turn into a submarine.
The relatively small size and lack of a human to interfere with operations opens up exciting possibilities for all sorts of shapes, sizes and functions. Just as the early 20th century ushered in the ‘Golden Age of Aviation’, it appears the 21st century is the Golden Age of Drones.