Sony has announced the price for their Airpeak S1 professional drone; a first from the company’s upcoming drone line-up.
The S1 is hailed as “the world’s smallest drone that can be equipped with a full-size mirrorless interchangeable-lens Alpha camera”, and will set you back a whopping $9,000 (and this doesn’t even include the gimbal!).
And while pre-orders are not yet opened, given the impressive performance from the demo videos, you can be that pro drone operators will be seriously considering this Japanese made drone.
Will Sony’s new drone be a worthy challenger to the hegemony of DJI and their Inspire line? I guess time will tell, but the next year will surely be more than interesting for all drone enthusiasts.
Made to integrate with Sony a7sIII, FX3 and other full-frame mirrorless cameras
Furthermore, the new S1 is a professional drone, make no mistake about it. And that’s not only judging by its price tag.
And according to Sony, their upcoming Airpeak S1 is said to use a proprietary motor, propeller, control system and sensing technology, allowing it to fly at extremely high speeds with very stable wind resistance.
Additionally, the 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.
55mph Max Speed; Advanced Flight System
Sony’s first pro drone can reach a maximum speed of 55mph (90km/h), a maximum angular velocity of 180 degrees/s, and a maximum tilt angle of 55 degrees.
In addition to its lightweight, but rugged, efficient and responsive proprietary 17-inch propeller and brushless motor, the Airpeak S1 is equipped with an ESC (Electric Speed Controller) for optimal control of these components.
According to Sony, their engineers have put together a high-performance flight control system, which integrates the propulsion device and all sensor information to ensure stable flight and high manoeuvrability.
Stereo Cameras All-Round
Stereo cameras equipped with Sony’s image sensors can be found at the front, back, left, right, and bottom of the drone. Furthermore, Sony’s Vision Sensing Processor is used to process camera data at high speed with low power consumption.
In addition, proprietary algorithms are used to accurately estimate the aircraft’s spatial position and orientation in real time, enabling stable flight even in environments where GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) reception may be hindered, such as indoors or under bridges.
Also, the S1 features 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 S1 uses multi-directional sensors for obstacle avoidance. 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 behaviour of the aircraft and the surrounding conditions.
Wide Range of Compatible Cameras and Lens Combinations
Designed to seamlessly integrate with the Sony Alpha camera system, the Airpeak S1 is compatible with a wide range of cameras, including (but not limited to):
- Sony Alpha 7S III,
- the Sony FX3,
- A7R series for ultra-high definition,
- Alpha 9 series and others for distortion-free images.
- Sony Alpha 1, which can shoot 8K video is also compatible.
Airpeak Flight app for iOS and iPad
The new professional drone comes packed with “Airpeak Flight,” an iOS and iPadOS compatible application that integrates 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.
Dual Operation Mode
Users can chose to operate the drone in dual operation mode. This allows one user to focus on flying the drone, while another user can operate the gimbal and camera simultaneously.
The FPV (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.
“Airpeak Base” Web application for efficient workflow
A new web application called “Airpeak Base,” allows drone operators to manage equipment, create flight plans, and manage flight logs.
In the equipment management, 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.
With Airpeak Base, the operator can create advanced flight plans and automatically fly the aircraft along the same course repeatedly, as if the drone were on rails installed in the air. It is able to set the position (latitude, longitude and altitude) and speed of the aircraft along the timeline, and specify the orientation of the gimbal and the timing of video or still image shooting. It can also draw smooth curves on the map.
Reproduction flight is an automatic flight function that reproduces the flight route, gimbal, and camera movements based on the flight logs that have flown in the past.
All aircraft information, including logs, can be uploaded to the cloud via the mobile app Airpeak Flight.
Sony Airpeak S1 Price and Availability
The new Airpeak S1 will be priced at $8,999 and will ship with 2 x pairs of propellers, a remote controller, 2 x batteries and a battery charger.
B&H already have a live listing for the Airpeak S1, although pre-orders are not yet opened.
Ironically, Sony will be selling the “third-party gimbal made specifically for the Airpeak S1” separately. Furthermore, the Japanese made S1 will be available for pre-order and ship in the Fall 2021.