With some of their core businesses not doing well, you’d think Sony would want to hunker down and focus its resources on getting those in tip-top shape first. Instead, the Japanese tech giant is spreading its wings, almost literally. Now it is getting into the unmanned aerial vehicles or UAV, more popularly known as drones. In fact, it is partnering with old friend ZMP to start a new company named “Aerosense, Inc.”, to be incorporated in August, to develop and launch the ultimate spy drones.
This isn’t the first time Sony and ZMP worked together. Early this year, Sony injected a good deal of money into ZMP’s coffers, buying a very small stake in the latter. The purpose? To help further ZMP’s R&D into self-driving cars. Making its motto “Robot of Everything” (like the “Internet of Everything”), ZMP wants to use robotics to make lives not only easier but also fun. Presumably, drones with image capture capabilities are part of that vision.
Like before, Sony and ZMP will bring complementary skills and expertise to Aerosense. While Sony itself has some robotics experience, ZMP’s is more in depth and covers even automotive technology. This, however, will be ZMP’s first foray into open skies. Sony, on the other hand, has years, even decades, of work on imaging technologies. But more than that, Sony will also bring some telecommunications network know-how, as Aerosense will also provide cloud-based data processing services.
Sony and ZMP plan to launch Aerosense’s first services, whatever they may be, by early 2016.
Although Sony’s imaging tech is definitely useful for UAVs such as these, diving head on into a dedicated drone business is probably a huge leap. Sony says that it does tie into its expansion beyond devices and into the Internet of Things market, where its venture with Aerosense will help sharpen its cloud services chops.