Sony plans to launch its first camera-equipped drone at the beginning of 2016

A DJI drone

The ‘autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles’ will be built in a tie-up between Sony Mobile Communications and ZMP, a Japanese company that develops robotics and automated driving technology.

Next month they will form a new company called Aerosense Inc.

‘Sony’s camera, sensing, telecommunications network, and robotics technologies will be leveraged alongside ZMP’s automated driving and robotics technologies together with their business experience in industrial fields,’ Sony said in a statement this week.

‘Aerosense Inc. will combine these assets and develop comprehensive solutions that meet needs including measuring, surveying, observing, and inspecting.

‘It will aim to roll out these services for enterprise customers beginning in 2016.’

The news comes in a week that the UK’s aviation regulator launched a campaign warning ‘recreational’ users to operate drones safely and not endanger other aircraft after a number of recent near misses.

The Drone Safety Awareness Day features a dedicated online resource where existing and potential users can access drone safety advice.

The Civil Aviation Authority has issued a list of tips called the ’Dronecode’, specifically targeting amateur users.

Rules state that drones must not be flown higher than 400ft and must be kept within the operator’s ‘visual line of sight’.

In March, a drone came within 50ft of a passenger plane as it came into land at Heathrow Airport and one was suspected of coming within 20ft of an aircraft in a similar near-miss last year.