Sony Airpeak S1
Image courtesy: Sony

Sony has released a firmware update for its Airpeak S1 professional drone which is designed for commercial and industrial applications. Firmware version 2.1.0 adds a range of new features including enhanced Mapping Mission and Automatic Return to Home.

Mapping Mission

The Sony Airpeak S1’s new enhanced Mapping Mission feature is aimed at usages such as surveying. With it, you can now create mapping missions as automatic flights in the Airpeak Flight app. Mapping Mission also uses the Real Time Kinematic Kit (RTK) and Gremsy Gimbal PX1. The feature enables the creation of 2D ortho maps, 3D models and point clouds. In addition, the firmware update makes it simpler to add high-precision positioning data to your captured images. You can save the data to an SD card in the RTK and then link it to the images in the Airpeak Flight app.

Automatic Return to Home

The Airpeak S1’s new Automatic Return to Home (RTH) feature will improve the safety and efficiency of the drone across a range of flight scenarios.  For example, if the signal is lost or the drone has a low battery, the RTH feature kicks in to guide the drone back to its home point. There are also two RTH modes: Basic and Advanced. Basic mode only avoids obstacles in an upwards direction. However, Advanced mode will fly safely around horizontal obstructions as well.

Direct Flight Repeat

With the Airpeak S1’s new Direct Flight Repeat feature, you can accurately repeat a previous flight path. The feature also reproduces any gimbal or camera movements when you captured any photos or video footage. This is great for filmmaking as it means you can accurately repeat complex aerial camera movements, take after take.

Other new features

The version 2.1.0 firmware update has added support for the Sony a7R III mirrorless camera. There is also now an AF-Lock focus lock option for the drone’s cameras. In addition, the firmware now supports more iPhone and iPad models. This means that the Airpeak app is now compatible with iPhone SE (3rd generation), iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14. iPad Air (5th generation), iPad Pro 11-inch (6th generation) and iPad (10th generation) are now supported as well.

What we think

It’s good to see Sony continuing to expand the usability of its flagship drone with this firmware update. Although many of the drone’s features are aimed at industrial use, it also offers a lot for filmmakers, too. The Direct Flight Repeat feature in particular is ideal for scripted filmmaking when the ability to execute precisely the same camera move again and again is essential. In addition, adding support for additional Sony mirrorless cameras will deliver high-quality video images.

Availability

Firmware update 2.1.0 for the Sony Airpeak S1 drone is available now. You need to install it via the Airpeak Flight app. Full instructions can be found on the Sony website.

Featured image courtesy: Sony

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.