Sony is entering the drone business. The electronics giant is starting a drone subsidiary called Aerosense, which will use small drone aircrafts to capture data for corporate customers. Initial use cases for the drones include land surveying and monitoring oil pipelines.
Aerosense, which is being launched in partnership with a Japanese autopilot tech startup called ZMP, will rely on Sony’s image sensors to outfit its drones. The sensors, used in both iPhones and Samsung Galaxy phones, generate a large percentage of the company’s profits. With the creation of this company, Sony can experiment with how best to position its sensors for a more general market–perhaps even for use in medical devices, the Wall Street Journal reports.
According to a statement from ZMP:
ZMP’s automated driving and robotics technologies together with their business experiences will be leveraged alongside Sony’s camera, sensing, telecommunications network, and robotics technologies in industrial fields. Aerosense Inc. will combine these assets and develop comprehensive solutions that meet needs including measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting. It aims to roll out these services for enterprise customers from the beginning of 2016.
Aerosense devices will rely on cloud computing for data processing. Drones have been a growth area for cloud services; one company working in the drone cloud sector, Airware, raised an undisclosed investment from Intel earlier this year.
By 2024, research firm Teal Group says the global drone market will be worth $11.5 billion a year.
[via The Wall Street Journal]