Sony continues to improve its first Airpeak cinematic drone, which was first announced at CES2021. The project is kept as secret as possible and no other information has been received since the demonstration of the prototype. Today, the developer broke a lunch of silence and presented to the community a video of the wind resistance tests of the unique machine, conducted by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and also talked about the latest developments affecting the drone’s propulsion system.
JAXA Wind Tunnel
The JAXA wind tunnel can generate artificial airflow at a constant speed. According to the developer, the purpose of the tests was to see the consequences that a drone might encounter when flying in windy weather, as well as to determine the maximum threshold for wind resistance. The test results showed that the prototype was able to maintain stable flight in wind speeds of around 20 m/s — in other words, this is a wind so strong that it would be difficult for an ordinary person to stand upright.
See how it looked during the test:
Power plant and flight controller
A well-chosen drone propulsion system, usually consisting of propellers, motors and ESCs (electronic speed controllers), should provide enough thrust to maintain a stable and steady flight in high wind conditions. According to the developer, Airpeak’s propulsion system is optimized to ensure stable flight even in high winds, with an arsenal of speed controllers designed to superbly control high-performance and powerful brushless motors, each of which works in tandem with light, high-performance and responsive 17-inch propellers.
However, in the natural world, the direction of the wind is constantly changing, which means that simply accelerating the propellers will not be enough. Accordingly, it is very important to develop a flexible and responsive control system that simultaneously responds well to the environment and provides full control in all situations. To achieve this, Sony engineers developed a unique propulsion system and flight controller from the ground up, and tested the technology in challenging environments, step by step to achieve the optimal level of flight stability for Airpeak.