The mysterious Sony Airpeak drone has been shown for the first time at CES 2021-not the DJI competitor we have always hoped for.
Sony first announced the Airpeak drone project in November 2020, but did not disclose any images or details about the flying machines it sells. Well, we have now seen some Airpeak short films at CES 2021, and it is fair to say that it is aimed at the high-end professional market.
What we are looking for is a professional competitor of products such as DJI Inspire 2, not an affordable consumer drone like DJI Mavic Air 2. This may disappoint amateurs, but professional aerial photographers will covet the Sony A7S III aerial camera displayed as an Airpeak drone for the prospect of flying.
Sony said in a brief announcement that it will launch a new business for “professional photography and video production”
According to the demo video, Airpeak was able to capture some spectacular videos while driving at a fairly high speed-in Sony’s first trailer video, the drone was shown on the track as a prototype Sony Vision S car.
The only other details we can gather from the video are that Airpeak has a quadcopter design and some impressive landing gear, which retract after takeoff. The video also shows that although Sony has not disclosed any information about price or availability, Airpeak will be a very expensive toolkit.
The first stage?
Although Sony has barely revealed details about Airpeak, the video and press release have answered our main question about the project-is it a consumer drone or a high-end tool for filmmakers? There is no doubt that Airpeak is now targeting the latter.
For those who hope that Sony will provide us with an aerial version of its cheaper camera (such as the Sony RX100 series), this makes us a little disappointed. They hope that Sony will adopt DJI in the field of consumer drones.
But there is still hope. Sony stated in Airpeak released at CES in 2021 that its professional photography and video tools will be “the first phase of the project.” Does this mean that the Airpeak brand may eventually be used on more affordable drones and may compete with competitors such as DJI Mavic 2 Pro? It is possible, although there is still some distance.
Starting with professional drones makes a lot of sense for Sony-this is the market for its largest land-based cameras such as Sony A7S III and Sony A7R IV. Moreover, not only is the profit of high-end drones far greater than its amateurs, but Airpeak is fully in line with Sony’s position as a high-end entertainment brand for professional filmmakers and aspiring creators.
So far, it looks like companies like DJI and Skydio will continue to dominate the affordable drone space-but Sony Airpeak will certainly become an impressive new competitor in high altitude areas.
- View all of TechRadar CES 2021 Coverage. We are reporting on the online-only exhibition remotely to bring you all major technology news and releases, as well as a few hands-on comments.