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By Ather Fawaz
Airpeak is Sony's new project for AI-powered drones and remote sensing
by Ather Fawaz
Today, Sony announced that it was launching a new project called 'Airpeak'. As the name hints, Airpeak will be Sony's take on AI-powered drones and the Japanese giant will contribute by bringing its remote-sensing technology to the domain.
The firm already specializes in making top-of-the-line cameras for both photography and videography, and Airpeak will take a cue from this. Sony says that the project will "support the creativity of video creators to the fullest extent possible, aiming to contribute to the further development of the entertainment industry". This could mean that the new project will bring in drones to capture some interesting shots of sports, exploration, and even regular settings. Furthermore, the project also aims to bring in improved efficiency and savings in various industries. Special attention will be paid to safety and reliability in all environments as well.
Airpeak is slated to launch somewhere in the spring of 2021. Sony will soon be seeking collaborating partners for the project. Apart from this, there isn't much that the Japanese firm has detailed about the project.
Further information and development information will be regularly updated on this website.
DJI Mini 2 announced with longer flight time, 4K video recording, more
by Rajesh Pandey
DJI today announced the ultra-light DJI Mini 2, the successor to the original DJI Mavic Mini drone. The drone weighs less than 249g (0.55lb) and has a portable design that can be folded, which makes it easy to carry around as well. Compared to the original Mini, the Mini 2 features improved imaging capabilities, longer flight time, and better transmission technology.
DJI has also added its OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology that offers a better, stable, and longer connection distance between the drone and the remote. DJI claims the transmission range is now 10km (6.2mi), a 150% increase from the original Mavic mini. Thanks to the upgraded motors, the Mini 2 offers a flight time of 31 minutes along with higher speeds and better acceleration. It can now also withstand wind speeds of up to 38.6kph (24mph).
For improved imaging, DJI has equipped the Mini 2 with a new 1/2.3-inch 12MP sensor that can record 4K 30fps videos at 100Mbps. It also allows users to shoot photos in RAW format for improved post-processing. The camera itself is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal that can compensate for drone movement, wind, and sudden change in direction. While recording in Full HD resolution, the Mini 2's 12MP camera offers 4x digital zoom. Additionally, there are a number of pre-programmed modes in the drone, this includes Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle, Boomerang, and more.
DJI has also announced some new accessories for the Mini 2. This includes 360-degree propeller guards, DJI Mini Bag, charging display case, and a snap adapter that allows one to attach a small LED screen on top of the drone.
The DJI Mini 2 can already be purchased from DJI's store and retail partners. The standard version is available for $449 while the Fly More combo consisting of three batteries, charging hub, carrying case, and a remote controller is available for $599.
By Abhay V
DJI Osmo Mobile 4 details leak, might sport a magnetic mounting mechanism
by Abhay Venkatesh
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Details and images of a successor to the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal have leaked, providing a look at the upcoming portable smartphone stabilizer. The device is said to be called the DJI OM 4 – short for the Osmo Mobile 4 – and might bring about improvements to the mounting mechanism using magnetic accessories. Interestingly, the description in the report suggests that the gimbal is “primarily intended for iPhone users”.
With the Osmo Mobile 3, the drone maker added the ability to fold the device for easier storage and transportation, and an easy way to switch between landscape and portrait modes without having to remove the phone from the gimbal. However, the clamp mechanism was retained, which can be cumbersome when users try to mount a phone quickly. The company is reportedly improving the mounting mechanism by introducing two magnetic accessories that attach to a smartphone, that can then be used to mount the phone to the gimbal easily.
One of the magnetic attachments looks to be a mobile holder ring-like accessory that can be attached to the phone permanently, and the other accessory looks like a traditional clamp. Unlike the earlier models, the separate clamp – not attached to the gimbal – will be easier to mount.
In addition to the quick mount system, the OM 4 is said to retain most of its predecessor’s features, such as Active Track 3.0 for automatic subject tracking, a zoom slider for Dolly Zoom-like effects, a foldable chassis, and other capture modes. The device is said to come with a 2450mAh battery that will be good for 15 hours of use and a Type-C port for charging. Unsurprisingly, it also retains the ¼-inch screw hole to be mounted on other tripods and stands.
The report adds that the device will cost under €150 (~ $177) and will be launched “very soon”.
DJI Mavic Air 2 announced with 48MP camera, longer flight time, more
by Rajesh Pandey
DJI has announced its latest drone, the Mavic Air 2. The new drone is the successor to the original Mavic Air announced back in 2018 and it comes with a massively improved camera system.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 features a 48MP 1/2-inch camera sensor that captures 12MP pixel binned images for more details and sharpness. The camera sensor is notably bigger than what was found on the original Mavic and allows the Air 2 to capture better photos with better dynamic range, especially in low-light scenarios. It can also shoot photos at 48MP if required. The drone is also capable of recording 4K videos at 60fps, 8K Hyperlapse videos, HDR video, and slow-mo videos at 120fps or 240fps at 1080p resolution. Apart from a 3-axis gimbal, DJI is also using EIS while recording videos on the Mavic Air 2 for greater stability.
There's a new Hyperlight mode as well to help take better photos in low-light scenarios by combining seven photos with different exposure levels into one. The camera can now automatically recognize a scene and tweak the camera settings accordingly for the best results.
In terms of flight time, DJI claims the Mavic Air 2 can fly for 34 minutes -- up from the 21 minutes of flight time offered by the original Mavic Air. The company has been able to achieve this by using new electronic speed controllers (ESC), a new design, and a new battery. The Mavic Air 2 is also lighter than the original Mavic Air -- 570g vs 470g -- which helps with the extended flight time.
The new and improved Spotlight 2.0 mode tracks a moving subject while the drone is flying, but allows users to control its flight path. This will provide users with greater control over the kind of shot they want to take. Other new and improved modes include ActiveTrack 3.0 and Point of Interest 3.0. Some notable new safety features include APS 3.0, AirSense, and ADS-B receiver.
DJI is also including a new remote with the Mavic Air 2. This redesigned remote will hold your smartphone above the controls instead of below it. It also offers up to 10KM of connectivity thanks to an improved radio controller and DJI's own OccuSync transmission technology instead of Wi-Fi.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is already available for pre-order, with deliveries slated to begin on May 11, 2020. It is already available for purchase in China from today though. The regular Mavic Air 2 package is priced at $799, while the Fly More combo with three batteries, ND filters, Shoulder bag, charger hub, and additional propellers is available for $988.
IDC: Robotics and drone spending set to reach $128.7 billion in 2020
by Paul Hill
A new report from IDC says that worldwide spending on robotics systems and drones will reach $128.7 billion this year which represents an increase of 17.1% over 2019. By 2023, IDC expects spending in this sector to reach $241.4 billion with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.8%. The new forecast was published as part of IDC’s new Worldwide Robotics and Drones Spending Guide.
IDC estimates that hardware purchases will make up the bulk of the spending, representing around 60% of spend; hardware purchases include robotic systems, after-market robotics hardware, and system hardware. While hardware makes up the bulk, service spending is likely to be the fastest sector to grow with a rate of 21.3% CAGR when compared to software (21.2% CAGR) and hardware (15.5% CAGR) growth.
Focussing on the geographic aspects, China will be the largest region for drones and robotic systems with overall spending forecasted to reach $46.9 billion in 2020, the Asia–Pacific region excluding Japan and China will come second with $25.1 billion spend, followed by the U.S. ($17.5 billion), and Western Europe ($14.4 billion).
When looking specifically at drones, consumer spending is estimated to total $6.5 billion in 2020 which represents 40% of the worldwide total throughout the forecast. Spend on drones in industry will be led by utilities ($1.9 billion), construction ($1.4 billion), and the discrete manufacturing and resource industries ($1.2 billion). Geographically, the United States will be the largest region for drones in 2020 with spending almost reaching $5.7 billion.