Sony has announced its first drone, the Airpeak S1, and it will overtake the competition by soaring to 80 mph and further to a top speed of 55.9 mph in just 3.5 seconds. This makes it the fastest accelerating drone in the industry. However, it doesn’t compete with small consumer drones like the DJI Mavic Air 2 – this is a large pro-level drone designed to carry a gimbal and full-size camera intended for commercial use in the sky ready. And it costs $ 9,000.
The Airpeak S1 has a total wingspan of 644 mm, making it similar in size to the DJI Inspire 2, but far more powerful in terms of payload and capabilities. It’s the smallest drone that can carry a full-size mirrorless Sony Alpha camera with interchangeable lenses. It uses five stereo cameras and two infrared cameras along with the new Vision Sensing Processor from Sony, and the energy is supplied via a new drive system with brushless motors and an internal battery for a flight time of up to 22 minutes. Sony promises great stability even in windy conditions and claims it will remain stable even in winds of 44 miles per hour or 20 meters per second.
It is controlled with the Airpeak Flight App, which will only be available for iOS at launch, and a special remote control. The aircraft and a connected gimbal can be controlled by one person with the remote control, and there is a dual mode of operation, so that one person can be tasked with flying the drone and another person controlling the gimbal. Sony also announced Airpeak Base, a cloud-based app for drawing automated flight routes, managing a fleet and editing flight plans.
Sony worked with drone gimbal expert Gremsy to develop a dedicated gimbal for the Airpeak S1, but it doesn’t come pre-packaged with the drone, so you have to buy it separately. The S1 and gimbal are compatible with a wide variety of Sony cameras, including the A1, A911, A7s111, A7RIV and FX3 cameras, and E-mount lenses between 14mm and 85mm. The gimbal is accompanied by a battery pack, a charger and another remote control as optional accessories for the S1, but the prices have not yet been determined.
The Airpeak S1 – which comes with the remote control, two batteries, a charger, and four propellers – won’t be available until later this year. At this point, more details on the specification and FAA approval, which appears to be pending, as well as the cost of the accessories, will be announced.