Sony (SONY) to Launch Airpeak S1 Commercial Drone in Fall 2021

·4 min read

Sony Group Corporation SONY has unveiled its first professional level commercial drone that it intends to launch in September this year at a retail price of about $9,000. Dubbed Airpeak S1, the drone is reportedly the smallest of its kind in the world and is the introductory model under the ‘Airpeak’ brand.

Reflecting its focus on 3R technologies (Reality, Real-time and Remote) in the drone arena, Airpeak S1 is equipped with a full-frame mirrorless interchangeable-lens alpha camera for different applications. This expands the scope of aerial video production and shooting performance with a wide range of compatible alpha cameras, including the α7S series for high descriptive capability with suppressed noise, the α7R series for ultra-high definition, and the α9 series for distortion-free images.

Based on AI technology, the drone is likely to improve the efficiency of various industries with the highest levels of safety and reliability standards. The AI capabilities are likely to help the drone better navigate between buildings and avoid aerial obstacles without any human intervention for improved performance metrics backed by a proprietary motor, propeller, control system and sensing technology. This enables dynamic and precise flight with high agility through a remote controlled device, reaching a maximum speed of 90km/h.

Leveraging a propulsion technology, which allows for wind resistance of up to 20m/s, the drone can withstand strong winds for a stable flight and high maneuverability. In addition, stereo cameras, equipped with Sony’s image sensors, process data at high speed to accurately estimate the drone's spatial position and orientation in real time, enabling stable flight even in harsher environments. These stereo cameras are installed in five locations (front, back, left, right, bottom) of the drone and utilize Sony's Vision Sensing Processor and proprietary algorithms to process data. Notably, Airpeak S1 integrates visual information with sensor information to precisely gauge its position and altitude along with the surrounding space in real time.

Moreover, the drone can be operated through a web application called “Airpeak Base”, which enables the operator to create flight plans by setting latitude, longitude, altitude and speed of the drone along the timeline. The app also supports the creation of advanced flight plans, through which an operator can automatically ensure repeated flights of the Airpeak S1 along the same course. Another app called “Airpeak Flight” could be used to monitor the flight distance and remaining battery power, and change various operations and settings on the fly. This dual operation mode app could be used by one to operate the drone, while another user can operate camera functions simultaneously.

Sony is concentrating on the premium segment of the branded products market to maximize growth. Measures to realign its business portfolio like making Sony Financial Holdings a wholly owned subsidiary, is helping the company. In the recent years, Sony achieved sales growth in the Imaging & Sensing Solutions (formerly Semiconductors) and Music segments. It enhanced profitability in the Electronics Products & Solutions segments and secured a stable profit contribution from the Financial Services segment. Going forward, the company expects significant improvement in demand for image sensors, which in turn will drive Semiconductors sales.

The stock has gained 42.9% in the past year compared with a 42.3% rise for the industry.

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We remain impressed with the focused attempts of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock. Some better-ranked stocks in the broader industry are United States Cellular Corporation USM, Cogent Communications Holdings, Inc. CCOI and ATN International, Inc. ATNI, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

U.S. Cellular delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 123.9%, on average.

Cogent delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 29%, on average.

ATN International delivered an earnings surprise of 424.2%, on average, in the trailing four quarters.

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