The marketplace of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) drones may have a new player. A new Sony drone could be in development, according to company teasers about a project Sony calls Airpeak.
Details are very few. A new section of the Sony website, Airpeak, appears to be a placeholder for future details about the new project. Sony says that the program will officially launch in the spring of 2021: they are currently looking for “partners in the professional space who can collaborate on the project,” according to the website.
“Sony Corporation today announced that it has launched a new project for drones in the field of AI robotics,” says the company announcement. “Sony has assigned the “Airpeak” brand to reflect its aspiration to contribute to the further evolvement and the creation of the unprecedented value through its imaging and sensing technology as well as 3R technologies (Reality, Real-time, and Remote) in the drone area.”
There are a few hints about the future market for Airpeak. Phrases like “workflow efficiency and energy savings in the industrial sector” would indicate that Sony anticipates an enterprise customer base.
Sony is a major world player in consumer products, with a long history in commercial-grade cameras and other imaging products. Sony’s manufacturing expertise, worldwide distribution network, and global name recognition could make them a formidable competitor in the drone market.
Sony’s announcement is the latest in a series of announcements from large companies, indicating that they may be increasing their investment in some segment of the drone market. As drone hardware evolves and begins to be standardized, the drone industry may follow the development path of the automotive industry. At the beginning of the automotive industry, hundreds of manufacturers competed in a wide variety of market segments. As the industry grew and standardization took hold, the “number of active automobile manufacturers dropped from 253 in 1908 to only 44 in 1929, with about 80 percent of the industry’s output accounted for by Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler,” says History.com.