Last month, Sony Mobile announced a joint drone venture with Japanese robotics company ZMP. The first images and videos of the Aerosense quadcopter, fitted with Sony's QX30 lens/camera module, and VTOL UAV prototypes have been released.
Aerosense Inc. was officially established on August 3, combining Sony's imaging prowess with ZMP's experience in robot technology and automated operation to offer drone services to enterprise customers from first half of 2016. The first two UAVs to be launched from the new company's development bench are the AS-MC01-P quadcopter and the AS-DT01-E VTOL drone.
The autonomous flight capabilities of the 515 x 515 x 400 mm (20.3 x 20.3 x 15.7 in) AS-MC01-P are helped along by GPS/INS navigation and visual simultaneous localization and mapping technology. Under the belly of this beast sits Sony's DSC-QX30 lens camera that was introduced last year. This sports a 24-720-mm equivalent zoom lens and a 20.4 MP CMOS sensor, is capable of continuous still image shooting at up to 10 frames per second, and can record Full 1080p HD video at 60 fps.
The quadcopter tips the scales at about 3 kg (6 lb), including camera module and battery, and it includes Sony's TransferJet technology for high speed wireless transfer of data to a host computer, though there's also mention of the ability to upload high resolution imaging data to the cloud for same day processing of 2D mapping or 3D modeling information.
Potential use scenarios could include getting a bird's eye view of possible build sites and subsequent remote checking on construction progress, keeping track of migrating wildlife in hard to reach areas, and checking mountainous areas for storm damage.
The Aerosense AS-DT01-E aircraft sports a rotor system between the wings that can be rotated for vertical take off and landing, and adjusted for horizontal flight. It's reported to have a top speed of around 170 km/h (100 mph) and a flight duration of 2 hours or more. The 2,200 x 1,600 x 600 mm (86.6 x 62.9 x 23.6 in) UAV weighs in at 7 kg (15 lb), including the battery, and will be capable of carrying additional payload of up to 3 kg.
The videos below show the prototypes in flight. The first is the quadcopter and the second is the VTOL drone.
Source: Aerosense (in Japanese)