Sony To Offer Drone Services $SNE

Sony Corp. is set to release a commercial drone which will help provide services to industries such as construction, logistics and agriculture. The drones could be a massive technological improvement to the entire of the economy. For example in the retail industry, with more efficient packing, faster turnaround and more precise scheduling, drones could take the place of the giant delivery trucks and make aerial delivery the new norm.

Sony’s sister company Aerosense Inc. is working closely with the robotics firm ZMP Inc in the development of the drone. According to Kotaro Sabe, Aerosense chief technology officer sales are expected to total about 10 billion yen by 2020.

Sony has seen turbulent times as of late, especially due to the recent fall in Japanese stock market. In addition, the Japanese company has failed to penetrate the smartphone market with its flagship Xperia model. Therefore, Sony is looking to diversify into other markets and using its mobile phone and digital camera technologies they can penetrate the drone market.

Currently the unmanned aircraft industry may be worth $82 billion by 2025 in the U.S. alone. Yet it is flooded with many different companies such as Google Inc. and General Electric Co. Moreover, Amazon is also in late stages of its Amazon Prime Air, which will be a delivery service, promising to deliver packages to its customer’s doorstep within 30 minutes of ordering through the use of drones.

Hiroki Totoki, head of Sony’s mobile business argues that  “It’s difficult to expect growth in the smartphone business with smartphones alone, which is why we are looking at new opportunities such as this”.

Negative news have been affecting drones as of late in Japan, when an anti-nuclear power protester used one to deliver a payload of radioactive material to the roof of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office in April. The incidence has lead to increasing scrutiny over the increasing use of drone.

Although drones provide excellent efficiency, the drawbacks cannot be ignored. Privacy concerns are likely to grow as citizens could become weary of cooperate and government data collections. Especially as each Sony drone includes a camera, which many will find disturbing. Furthermore the risk to interference with wildlife and aerial pollution is an additional drawback.