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Sony’s Airpeak and Autel’s Dragonfish Unveiled at CES 2021

BY Zacc Dukowitz
13 January 2021

The two biggest drone stories out of CES 2021 so far this week are the launch of Autel’s Dragonfish drone for commercial applications and Sony’s Airpeak drone for high-end cinematography.

Here’s everything we know about each of them.

Sony’s Airpeak

A little while back Sony teased the upcoming launch of its very first drone, called Airpeak, without sharing any specific details.

At CES 2021 this week the company finally unveiled this new drone, and it turns out the Airpeak is a big rig drone made for high-end aerial cinematography.

Unveiling the Airpeak Aircraft

According to Sony, the Airpeak is the smallest drone capable of carrying a Sony Alpha, which is a camera designed for professional photography and videography.

Focusing on a niche application instead of going after the general consumer market—where DJI dominates, and where many other companies have failed due to that domination—seems like a smart play for Sony.

[Related reading: Big Rigs on Movie Sets: 9 Important Factors to Consider, from Pricing to Preparation and Beyond]

Sony hasn’t shared any further details yet about the Airpeak, other than to generally indicate that it’s for professional photography/videography and to share that the company has been testing its use for capturing city and landscape shots.

Despite the lack of information, Sony did share this video featuring footage captured by the Airpeak of Sony’s Vision-S electric car:

Airpeak | Aerial Shooting of VISION-S Road Test

Judging by its looks and target application the Airpeak could pose some competition for DJI’s Matrice series, specifically for the DJI M600.

But other, more expensive professional big rigs like the FreeFly Alta 8 probably won’t see much competition from Sony’s new drone, since it seems like it’s primarily made to accompany the Alpha and not necessarily to take market share away from existing drones created for high-end cinematography.

Here’s a picture of the Airpeak in a carrying case, to give you a sense of its size:

airpeak-carrying-case
Photo credit: Sony

Autel’s Dragonfish Drone

A few days ago Autel tweeted that it would be making some big announcements at CES 2021, and the internet started buzzing with speculation on what the company might be gearing up to release.

So far, the big news this week from Autel has been the launch of its Dragonfish drone.

Introducing: VTOL Dragonfish

The Dragonfish is a tough, versatile drone made for all types of commercial work.

It uses a unique tilt-rotor VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) design, has an impressive 120 minutes of flight time, modular payload options, and can fly in high winds and rain.

The Dragonfish is mission ready right out of the box and includes powerful AI tracking capabilities and a multitude of modular payload options. With no complicated moving parts, the Dragonfish is modular, waterproof, smart and reliable.

– Autel

Specs & Details for the Dragonfish

  • Maximum flight time: 120 minutes
  • Maximum flight speed: 67 mph
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 17.2 pounds (up to 3.3 pounds can be used for payload(s))
  • Video transmission range: 18.6-mile
  • Visual camera: 4k with 20x zoom
  • Infrared detection: Up to 200 meters

Key features of the Dragonfish

  • Versatility. The Dragonfish has the ability to use a variety of payloads, which can be changed out quickly to suit mission requirements. According to Autel, this design allows the drone to be useful for a variety of applications, including public safety, fire fighting and prevention, traffic monitoring and management, coastal overwatch and security, agriculture, and energy.
  • Accuracy. The Dragonfish is accurate to one centimeter, with a measurement error of one part per million.
  • Wind resistance. The Dragonfish is tough, and can be operated in winds up to 31 miles per hour.

Autel Robotics Care

Autel also recently announced the launch of Autel Robotics Care, a service for customers that provides drone repairs and replacements.

autel-robotics-care
Image credit: Autel

The service starts at $149 a year and gives customers perks, like free shipping for damaged drones that need to be repaired and up to two replacements per drone.

Learn more about Autel Robotics Care on Autel’s website.

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