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Technology

Sony's $10,000 drone to brave strong winds for pro-level photos

Airpeak's stability lets it fly where no drone has gone before

Sony's Airpeak S1 drone can carry a mirrorless camera and other equipment for aerial shots. (Photo courtesy of Sony)

TOKYO -- Sony Group begins sales in September of a professional-grade camera drone designed to capture steady footage during flight even in windy weather, the Japanese multinational said Thursday.

The Airpeak S1 is Sony's first drone product since the company said last year it would enter the business. The drones will be available in both Japan and the U.S., with one unit priced around $10,000.

The aerial vehicle carries 13 sensors that help maintain stability in gusts of up to 20 meters per second. Owners can operate the device in environments normally uninviting to drones, such as coastlines and mountains.

The Airpeak, measuring 59 cm by 51 cm while stationary, is the world's smallest camera-carrying drone, Sony said. The device can handle payloads of up to 2.5 kg, enough for a mirrorless single-lens camera.

The drone, equipped with four rotors, can achieve a top speed of 90 kph and fly at a maximum angle of 55 degrees. The Airpeak contains five built-in directional stereo cameras to sense obstacles quickly.

The Airpeak comes with a web-based application that maps positions in 3-D. The app can plot flight courses ahead of time and repeat previous flight plans.

The Sony team responsible for the Aibo robot dog and the Vision-S concept electric vehicle was at the center of Airpeak's development. The drone initially will be sold for entertainment purposes, with the aim of marketing the Airpeak for other applications such as infrastructure inspections and transport.

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