Sony’s Vertical Take-off Drone Aimed at Surveyors

August 28, 2015  - By

Photo: Sony

Sony is developing an unmanned aerial vehicle that lifts off and lands vertically like a helicopter (also known as a VTOL craft for vertical take-off and landing.) The VTOL drone is being developed with a Tokyo robotics firm under a collaborative company called Aerosense.

The drone can carry up to 22 pounds, fly continuously for two hours, and reach a speed of 106 miles per hour. Sony is developing it for business customers, who would use it for “measuring, surveying, observing and inspecting” as soon as next year, so it will likely carry different types of instruments, depending on the task a customer requires.

The video below shows a prototype flight on Monday.

Aerosense, created this month, is a joint venture between Sony and Tokyo-based startup ZMP Inc., which specializes in autopilot technology. The venture is part of Sony’s efforts to move beyond its core consumer products into enterprise markets. Aerosense will offer services such as inspecting aging infrastructure and surveying land that is difficult to access. The drones would be piloted automatically based on input from users about which areas they want surveyed.

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