Today, Sony officially announces the Sony Airpeak S1. This $9k drone can be used with the Sony Alpha full-frame line of cameras and a range of interchangeable lenses. With the Airpeak S1, Sony is making its official entry into the drone market that is dominated by DJI and the Airpeak S1 competes head-on with DJI’s Inspire 2 and Matrice drones.
Sony Airpeak S1, a $9k drone for full-frame Sony Alpha cameras
The Sony Airpeak S1 comes with proprietary brushless motors, 17-inch propellers, a control system, and obstacle avoidance technology with sensors on the front, rear, left, right, and bottom of the aircraft. The drone features retracting legs and can fly up to 56 mph and withstand wind speeds of up to 55 mph. The Sony Airpeak S1 is only slightly larger than the DJI Inspire 2 and is capable of carrying up to five pounds of payload. According to Sony, the Airpeak S1 accelerates faster than the DJI Inspire 2.
The Sony Airpeak S1 offers a maximum flight time of 22 minutes, which is reduced to only 12 minutes when outfitted with an Alpha 7S Mark III and a 24mm f/1.4 lens.
Sony’s Vision Sensing Processor combined with information from the IMU and the barometric pressure sensor can determine the drone’s position and orientation in real-time even if GPS data is not available. The five directional cameras on the drone are used to create a 3D space in which the drone can safely operate.
Sony did not provide any information on the range of the drone, nor did the company confirm if the Airpeak S1 will automatically return to home in case of a lost connection or battery that is running low. There will not be any geofencing on the new Sony drone.
“Sony is excited to launch our new drone business with the Airpeak S1,” said Yang Cheng, Vice President, Imaging Solutions, Sony Electronics Inc. “Combining an extremely compact size with some of Sony’s most advanced imaging, sensing, AI and robotics technologies, the S1 will allow content creators, storytellers and commercial professionals to capture that which they’ve never been able to capture before.”
Sony’s Airpeak Flight app
The Sony Airpeak S1 drone comes with an iOS and iPadOS-only app called Airpeak Flight that allows the operator to control the drone, gimbal, and camera. The app provides information on battery life, speed, and allows the pilot to choose from various flight modes.
The Sony Airpeak S1 also allows for dual operation with one person controlling the drone while a second operator can control the camera and gimbal.
To help maintain the drone, keep flight logs and create advanced flight plans, Sony has developed a web app called Airpeak Base. Through the app, the Sony Airpeak S1 can execute the same flight repeatedly with preprogrammed gimbal orientation, and video and photo actions.
Pricing and availability of the Sony Airpeak S1
The Sony Airpeak S1 retails for $9,000 and will ship to customers in the Fall of this year. The drone comes with two sets of propellers, a remote controller, two batteries, a battery charger and will be built in Japan. The third-party gimbal, the Gemsy Gimbal T3 that is specifically developed for the Airpeak S1 has to be bought separately for $1,750. Sony offers an ‘Airpeak Protection Plan’ to cover any accidental damage.
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