Sony's mobile arm is partnering with Tokyo autopilot startup ZMP Inc. to launch (no pun intended) a drone subsidiary called Aerosense. The joint venture will forego the competitive consumer drone market, instead taking a service-based approach to finding new business opportunities.

Earlier this month, Sony Mobile CEO Hiroki Totoki reaffirmed his commitment to the mobile market, saying the company had no intentions of selling off or otherwise getting out of the mobile business. He didn't, however, rule out the possibility of using the mobile division's technologies in other areas.

With Aerosense, that's exactly what's happening as Sony is simply exploring other avenues as it relates to delivering its mobile technology.

Sony's mobile division is best known for churning out smartphones under the Xperia line but in reality, it's much deeper than that. Sony is also a key part of the supply chain for a number of major tech companies including Apple and Samsung, both of which use the company's imaging sensors in their respective flagship smartphones.

Sony's mobile imaging sensors will be used by Aerosense drones to perform a variety of tasks including measuring, surveying, observing and inspecting. The plan is to sell services, not the drones themselves, based on those tasks to business clients (engineers looking to survey land or those inspecting dated infrastructure, for example).

The two companies said they aim to roll out services for enterprise customers by early next year.