Daily Management Review

Sony Launches Drone Manufacturing Company, New Drones to Hit Market Soon


07/22/2015




A Chance for Developing Entrepreneurial Spirits within the Company:Sony

Sony Launches Drone Manufacturing Company, New Drones to Hit Market Soon
 
Exploring a different vertical, Sony Corp. announced their intention to enter the global market for unmanned aircrafts – drones. The company has formed a new company named Aerosense in a joint venture with Tokyo startup ZMP Inc.
 
Tokyo startup ZMP Inc. specializes in autopilot technology. Both Sony and ZMP would have equal stake in the new company.
 
Sony, which has been struggling of late to increase sale of some of its consumer durables like TV, is expected to enter a market segment that is already crowded with upstarts and technology giants.

The new Sony venture, Aerosense would offer the services of its drones for activities like inspecting aged infrastructure and surveying land that is difficult for people to access.

According to the press release issued by the company, Sony would be providing all the necessary hardware and technological expertise in camera, sensing, telecommunications network and robotics. Their partner in the venture, ZMP would leverage their expertise in automated driving and robotics technologies together with their business experience in the industrial fields. The press release by Sony said that much of the drone’s hardware, particularly its “driving and robotics technologies” would be provided by ZMP.
 
As Sony continues its push towards more internet of things (IoT) technology, it views the new venture as an opportunity to implement its sensors in the real world. Some of the largest internet and technology companies like Amazon.com Inc. and Google Inc. are already researching the options available to them of using drones to facilitate business. Both the companies are reported to be researching on the possible use of drones for package delivery.
 
Sony believes that adapting Sony’s innovation in various technologies used for drones would be the key to driving growth in this area.

“We’re looking to explore new opportunities beyond our core consumer portfolio in enterprise markets,” Hiroki Totoki, head of Sony’s smartphone unit said. The smart phone unit of the company is the one which is providing all the resources for the drone venture.

The devices that would be manufactured by Aerosense would adorn Sony image sensors. These image sensors are used in Apple Inc.’s iPhone and Samsung Electronic Co.’s Galaxy.

There is however quite a lot of competition in the drone market even in Japan. Yamaha Motor Co. that has been commercially manufacturing autonomously piloted helicopters for agricultural and other purposes is one of the potent rivals of Aerosense. Autonomous Control Systems Laboratory Ltd, a startup company, is another rival which makes drones to inspect infrastructure including nuclear reactors.

ZMP has been a former partner of Sony in the development of technology for autonomous-driving cars. Despite the competition in the segment, experts see quite a large business scope for Sony’s new venture. Industry verticals like the telecom sector could make use of drone technology to precisely image a landscape to plan new base stations or for other new technologies. Other industries like agriculture, oil and gas town planning and highway development and infrastructure are also potential areas for drone use and drone revenue.

Sony however sees this as an opportunity for its engineers and scientists to develop a renewed spirit of entrepreneurship. Sony intends to turn the smart phone division into a unit where new ideas and innovations would be given preference. This, according to Sony, would also help the company reap benefits from its other business.

(Source: www.wsj.com) 






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