Sony’s Airpeak Drone Gets a Lighter Gimbal, Better Nav, and Bigger Battery
Sony has announced three new accessories for the Sony AirPeak drone: a lighter gimbal, a Real Time Kinematic (RTK) kit that improves its navigation and flight precision, and a new enhanced better for longer flight times.
New Gremsy Gimbal PX1
The Airpeak drone now can be equipped with the Gremsy Gimbal PX1, a new “state-of-the-art” lightweight gimbal that Sony says was specifically designed for use with the Airpeak as opposed to the previous T3 that worked with it but was not made for it. The company says that the PX1 provides better image quality and accuracy even in challenging situations (such as around wind turbines or surveying urban environments) and does so while being 40 percent lighter which improves flight times.
Sony says the new PX1 operates smoothly with compatible with full-size mirrorless interchangeable lens Alpha cameras and supports various lenses such as the Zeiss 35mm f/2.8, the 24mm f/2.8G, 40mm f/2.5 G, or the 50 f/2.5 G.
The PX1 also pairs with Airpeak and the Flight app via the remote controller, which Sony says allows users to control the gimbal’s movements and adjust camera settings precisely. It also supports touch-operated focus area settings.
The Real Time Kinematic (RTK) Kit
The RTK is designed mainly for use in industrial applications and allows the Airpeak to achieve highly precise positioning and navigation without lag, a combination that Sony says allows it to maintain a stable flight path and gather precise data that geotags images — especially useful for inspections.
Sony says the RTK system uses a base station that receives satellite signals from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and an Airpeak-mounted receiver that uses these signals to determine its position. It can use the connection to multiple GNSS satellites to calculate the Airpeak’s exact location, velocity, and orientation down to a centimeter-level to allow for nearly perfectly replicable flights.
“Looking ahead, the networking port currently available with the RTK Kit for Airpeak S1 could open additional use cases, further enhancing the value of drones for a variety of industries,” Sony claims. “The geotagging feature has the ability to sync image and mapping data which is key for any user. Overall, the RTK Kit for Sony’s Airpeak S1 is an exciting development that promises to take the capabilities of drones for industrial applications to new heights.”
The RTK can also work in tandem with the PX1 gimbal to even more precisely record its position and orientation as it captures visual information.
A New Enhanced Battery
Sony’s new LBP-HM1 battery is a new “enhanced” option that Sony says will provide longer flight times thanks to a higher capacity. The Airpeak can now fly for up to 20 minutes when equipped with the PX1 gimbal and an Alpha 7R IV with a Zeiss 35mm f/2.8. Sony also quotes it can fly for up to 30 minutes without a payload, but that information is not particularly valuable since no one would fly an Airpeak without a camera.
In addition to communicating with the Airpeak app to show battery life, the LBP-HM1 also has a set of LED indicators physically on each battery. The new battery is compatible with Sony’s LBP-H1 Battery Station which was announced in January.
Pricing and Availability
Sony will be releasing firmware update version 2.0.0 for both the aircraft and the controller which makes it compatible with the new gimbal, RTK kit, and adds camera shake correction when used in tandem with the FX3 (video only). It will also add display and notification functions that Sony says will improve usability.
These updates may make it worthwhile to revisit the Airpeak S1 as they notably change its capabilities and might address several of the issues PetaPixel ran into when it reviewed the drone last year.
The PX1 gimbal will be available on May 19 for $4,000, the RTK Kit will be available on June 9 for $4,000, and the new enhanced battery will cost $400 each and will be available on June 23.
Image credits: Sony