When it comes to any flying aircraft, be it a drone or piloted machine, high winds are a significant challenge. Late last year, Sony announced its Airpeak drone, and we’ve heard little since then. Sony has now shared a video showing its Airpeak drone operating comfortably and flying in sustained 44 mph winds inside a wind tunnel.
The test was conducted at a JAXA wind tunnel that uses a large fan and a pair of funnels to simulate real-world wind speeds. Sony conducted the test to see how the drone was impacted by a strong wind and what wind speed the drone could operate in. According to Sony, test results showed the prototype Airpeak drone maintained stable flight up to around 40 mph.
Wind speeds of 40 mph can make it difficult for people to stand upright and walk, yet the video shows that the drone is surprisingly stable despite the high wind speeds. Onboard footage seen on the video was captured by the drone itself using a mirrorless Sony camera. The camera, attached to the drone’s integrated gimbal, hardly moves while recording.
It will remain to be seen how well the drone performs in the real world. In a wind tunnel, the air comes mostly from one direction. However, in the real world, winds can gust and swirl from multiple directions with the potential to create more difficult flying conditions.
Sony is expected to fully reveal the Airpeak drone in the spring of 2021. While a specific date isn’t offered, the assumption is sometime around the beginning of June. Full details, including pricing, are expected then.