Sony swoops in on drone market with nimble vertical take-off aeroplane (video)

25 Aug 2015

Sony has revealed two new drone prototypes, including a fixed-wing drone capable of vertical take-off and landing and which can fly at 106MPH (170KMPH).

Japanese consumer electronics giant Sony is determined to muscle in on the emerging market for drones, revealing two new prototypes it has built with Tokyo robotics company Aerosense.

Sony has revealed two videos of two prototypes: the vertical landing and take-off enterprise drone AS-DTO1-E, which looks and operates like an aeroplane in the air; and the AS-MCO1-P prototype, which is a quadcopter much more akin to conventional drones.

The AS-DTO1-E once airborne can fly rapidly through the air at speeds of about 106mph and can carry objects weighing up to 22 pounds. This could be useful in variety of scenarios, such as delivering medical supplies or machine parts in hard to reach locations or emergency situations.

The AS-MCO1-P quadcopter is smaller and lighter and appears to be aimed more at hobbyists. The drone can be loaded with a camera, GPS and navigation system.



The drone economy takes wing

Companies like Amazon and Facebook are aiming to pioneer drone delivery and usage. Countries like Canada and Ireland are gearing up to be leading players fostering drone innovation.

Last week, at the inaugural ‘Meet the Drones’ open day organised by the newly-established Unmanned Aircraft Association of Ireland (UAAI), Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe TD said that Ireland intends to be a leading hub for drone development.

He said that privacy rules will need to be brought up to date to cope with the arrival of drones in Irish airspace but that adoption of use of drones is going to be exponential.

At present, there are more than 4,000 drone pilots in the Republic of Ireland, out of whom 80 are currently formally licenced. The UAAI intends to bridge that gap by educating existing and new drone pilots in safety and best practice.

“This whole area is going to experience gigantic growth and while Ireland is well ahead in terms of what needs to be done to regulate drones, there’s a real need for Ireland and Europe to look at what laws we need in relation to privacy and security and how different drones can be regulated,” Minister Donohoe said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years