During CES 2020, last January, Sony presented Vision-S, an electric car concept designed to serve as a platform for demonstrating the products and technologies (such as batteries, charging systems, sensors and screens) that it develops for the automotive sector. Six months later the vehicle hit the streets of Tokyo, where it underwent tests to “improve the detection and audio technologies” on board.
And during CES 2021, which was held virtually this year, the company provided information on the progress of the project. Vision-S is being tested in winter conditions on public roads in Austria. Interesting progress for what, last year, was just a “showroom on wheels”.
The car is not being entirely developed by Sony, as the company has no experience in the auto industry. Among the partners involved in the project are Magna Steyr, Bosch, Continental, AImotive (a Hungarian startup), Elektrobit, Valeo, Vodafone and ZF.
Getting to know the Sony Vision-S
The Vision-S has two 200 kW engines (one on each axis), which can take you from 0 to 100 km / h in 4,8 seconds. A set of 33 sensors makes the vehicle aware of its surroundings, including CMOS (image) and ToF (distance) sensors to detect people and objects both inside and outside the car.
For obstacle detection Vision-S uses a solid-state LiDAR (Laser radar), which dispenses with the traditional “tower” on the vehicle's roof and allows it to map its surroundings, avoid collisions and maintain a safe distance and speed in relation to others vehicles.
Inside, the main highlight of the Vision-S is a panoramic screen on the dashboard, which works like rear view mirrors, houses the instruments and also displays navigation information and controls the entertainment system. The sound comes from built-in speakers in each seat, equipped with “360 reality audio” technology.
Passengers in the backseat have individual screens and can even enjoy PlayStation games while traveling, thanks to a “Remote Play” system that uses the car's 5G connection to access the console and passenger games at home.
An AI system learns users' preferences, and can even individually adjust the temperature at the back of the car if it realizes that a passenger is sleeping, for example.
Sony says it “is working to fully understand the mechanisms of cars - not just to understand how they are made and the challenges they present, but also their relevance to society. For this purpose, Sony has developed a car that is drivable and takes safety into account. The car represents a fusion of Sony technology and creativity. It is a glimpse into the future of mobility, covering the evolution of safety, comfort, entertainment and adaptability. ”