Sony Steps Into The Drone Game With Partner ZMP, A Tokyo Robotics Firm

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Sony Steps Into The Drone Game With Partner ZMP, A Tokyo Robotics Firm

It seems like everyone is getting into the drone game these days, not too long ago the blogosphere was buzzing with talk about GoPro getting into the game, now it’s Sony’s turn. Sony and Tokyo robotics firm ZMP both own 50% stakes in a new drone venture, Aerosense.

Sony is gunning for a slice of the growing drone market, showing off newly developed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from its just-launched drone venture, Aerosense.

In addition to the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) craft hinted at last month, Aerosense on Monday exhibited a quadcopter that makes use of Sony’s lens-type camera, the QX30.

Sony’s quadcopter takes smartphone tech to the skies

The success of Aerosense will depend on its ability to efficiently mesh the experience and technology of Sony and ZMP.

Sony’s camera, sensing, telecommunications network, and robotics technologies will be leveraged alongside ZMP’s automated driving and robotics technologies together with their business experience in industrial fields. Aerosense Inc. will combine these assets and develop comprehensive solutions that meet needs including measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting. It will aim to roll out these services for enterprise customers beginning in 2016.

Sony Mobile and ZMP to Establish Joint Venture for Developing and Providing Enterprise Solutions that Utilize Autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Aerosense AS-MC01-P

Aerosense AS-MC01-P

So what exactly is Aerosense coming to market with? The first drone is the AS-MC01-P. Leave it to Sony to give it a catchy name.

Designed for use in urban areas such as construction zones, the AS-MC01-P quadcopter weighs about 3 kilograms and can fly for about 15 to 20 minutes on a battery charge.

It can operate autonomously, flying within a preset zone, and is equipped with GPS, Wi-Fi and an inertial navigation system. It also has a high-speed data transfer module that uses Sony’s TransferJet technology.

Sony’s quadcopter takes smartphone tech to the skies

Aerosense AS-DT01-E

Aerosense AS-DT01-E

The second drone is the AS-DT01-E. The AS-DT01-E is a VTOL winged drone. In my opinion, a much more interesting design.

The venture’s other craft, the AS-DT01-E winged VTOL drone, has a rotor system that allows it to fly like a helicopter or a plane. The advantage of the winged format is that it can fly at much higher speeds than most non-military drones — up to 170 kilometers per hour compared to high-speed quadcopters that fly at 75 kph.

Weighing 7kg, it can carry a 3kg payload and operate for at least two hours on a battery charge.

Sony’s quadcopter takes smartphone tech to the skies

You can expect both of these drones to be available for monitoring, surveying and inspection next year. Tim Hornyak of PC World believes “Potential applications include photographing agricultural land, mining sites and mountainous areas to check for damage after a storm.”

About Sony

Sony Corporation, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Its diversified business is primarily focused on the Consumer and Professional electronics with divisions Gaming, Entertainment and Financial services sectors. The company is one of the leading manufacturers of electronic products for the consumer and professional markets. Sony is ranked 116th on the 2015 list of Fortune Global 500.

About ZMP

ZMP INC. is an established company which specializes in supplying robotic teaching tools to Japanese universities.   The company was founded in January 2001 in order to commercialize the results of the Kitano Symbiotic Systems Project, under the jurisdiction of Japan’s MEXT. The name of the company comes from the robotic walking algorithm Zero Moment Point.

ZMP released the first humanoid robot designed for the consumer market, PINO®, in 2001. Like GeckoSystems CEO Martin Spencer, ZMP CEO Hisashi Taniguchi is now focusing on robotic solutions that can be used in daily life.

By |2017-08-31T15:24:22-08:00September 22nd, 2015|Drone Startups, Drone Technology, Drones, New Drones|Comments Off on Sony Steps Into The Drone Game With Partner ZMP, A Tokyo Robotics Firm

About the Author:

Sam Estrin
I'm an avid drone enthusiast and part-time drone blogger living outside of the DC area. I track drone news and write editorials and timely drone news stories that I find interesting. If you like my stories, you can follow me on Twitter or visit me at LinkedIn. If you'd like me to write for your drone oriented publication or blog, you can contact me at