Sony Mobile, the wholly owned Sony subsidiary formerly known as Sony Ericsson, is going upwardly mobile by teaming up with Japanese robotics firm ZMP to launch a drone company. Aerosense Inc. will launch next month and target enterprise customers with a focus on the internet of things applications.
The joint venture will combine Sony's expertise in camera, sensing, telecommunications networks, and robotics technologies with ZMP's experience with automated driving technology, which has so far been limited to ground-based vehicles.
Aerosense will develop autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles to snap aerial imagery for measuring, surveying and inspecting applications that will be processed in the cloud, forming a nicely packaged service it will target at enterprise customers.
Using drones for inspections and surveying is an application that is perhaps not as sexy as some (like delivery and photography), but it is growing on the back of its undeniable practicality. We have seen systems under development that aim to use drones to inspect bridges, airplanes, and tall buildings for signs of structural defects. And these flying robots are already impacting the construction industry in a number of positive ways.
Aerosense will be based in Tokyo and launch in early August. It aims to roll out services from 2016.