Sony Electronics announces Airpeak S1 professional drone

Sony Electronics Inc. announced the company’s first professional drone, the Airpeak S1, which the company claims is the world’s smallest drone that can be equipped with a full-size Alpha mirrorless cameras. The new drone utilizes a proprietary motor, propeller, control system, and sensing technology, allowing it to fly at extremely high speeds with very stable wind resistance, claims Sony.  Additionally, the Airpeak S1 features an advanced remote controller that can support the production of high-quality aerial images and freely control the aircraft.  It also includes obstacle detection, automatic flight control via sensing and increased safety via cloud management of the aircraft and flight information.

“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.”

The Airpeak S1 suggested retail price is approximately $9,000 and will ship with two pairs of propellers, a remote controller, two batteries and a battery charger. A third-party gimbal made specifically for the Airpeak S1 will be sold separately.

Flight Performance

Airpeak controller

The Airpeak S1 offers a maximum speed of 55mph, a maximum angular velocity of 180°/s, and a maximum tilt angle of 55°. Propulsion technology using a combination of Sony developed key devices provides wind resistance in strong wind speeds up to 44.7mph. A unique, high-performance flight control system integrates the propulsion device and all sensor information to ensure stable flight and high maneuverability, the company said. The Airpeak S1 is also equipped with a unique high-performance flight control system that integrates all sensor information such as IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), direction, barometric pressure and infrared ranging to optimize the propulsion device.

The Airpeak S1 uses Multi-directional sensors to enable its obstacle braking function. The front, rear, left and right stereo cameras and the infrared range-finding sensor mounted on the top recognize obstacles in the vicinity of the aircraft, allowing the aircraft to automatically decelerate and stop according to the behavior of the aircraft and the surrounding conditions.

Multiple Camera and Lens Variations

The Airpeak S1 is compatible with a wide range of camera bodies including the Alpha 7S series and FX3, the Alpha 7R series, and the Alpha 9 series. The Alpha 1, which can shoot footage in 8K, is also compatible. The professional drone includes “Airpeak Flight,” an iOS® and iPadOS® compatible application integrating the aircraft, transmitter, camera, and gimbal, allowing the operator to monitor status information such as flight distance and remaining battery power, and change various operations and settings on the screen.

Airpeak S1 also includes a dual operation mode so one user can operate the drone, while another user can operate the gimbal and camera simultaneously, all while checking the same image, even in complicated scenes. The first person view camera, which can be tilt-operated from the remote controller, is mounted on the nose of the aircraft and is useful for the operator to check the direction of the aircraft and the direction of travel.

The drone includes “Airpeak Base,” a web application allowing the operator to manage equipment, to create flight plans, and to manage flight logs. Information on the equipment used is automatically listed and managed based on the flight log. This allows the operator to check the condition of the aircraft before going to the field, minimizing on-set issues. All aircraft information, including logs, can be uploaded to the cloud via the mobile app Airpeak Flight.