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VISION-S by Sony presented in January 2020.
VISION-S by Sony presented in January 2020.
( Source: Sony)

Prototype Sony unveils electric car prototype

| Author: Florian Richert

The Sony electric car prototype is called Vision-S. It is primarily intended to show which technical developments the Japanese company has in its portfolio and how these are applicable in the mobility sector.

The Vision-S was developed by Sony together with international partners, including Magna Steyr from Austria, and Bosch, Continental, and ZF from Germany. The platform of the electric car, presented as a limousine, is also intended to be suitable for production as an SUV or other vehicle variants. Sony has not yet given any information as to whether the platform will go into series production in any form.

It's no exaggeration to say that mobile has been the megatrend of the last decade. I believe that the next megatrend will be mobility," Kenichiro Yoshida, President, and CEO of Sony Corporation

In addition to the expected entertainment system, the Vision-S equipped with Sony's proprietary software, sensors, and security technology. The image and sensor technology previously used mainly in smartphones serves in the Vision-S for the vehicle systems. The onboard software is AI-supported and uses Sony's computing, telecommunications, and cloud technologies.

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Sony technology for autonomous mobility

The Vision-S showcased the "Safety-Cocoon" safety zone concept, which ensures vehicle safety in various driving situations through a 360-degree vision to detect and avoid risks at an early stage. The basis for this is the company's image and sensor technology, which also includes LiDAR, a technique for high-precision distance measurement, and 3D detection. Built-in CMOS image sensors, which detect people and objects both inside and outside the Vision-S built surveillance while driving. With the "sensor fusion" technology, the driver is supported even under challenging conditions such as fog and driving at night. The interior is dominated by a display that extends from door to door and can display a wide range of information and media. The "360 Reality Audio" offers passengers a new kind of sound experience via loudspeakers installed in each seat. The infotainment system is supported by " Time-of-Flight" (ToF) sensors, which use distance measuring to detect people and objects in the cabin and optimize the media experience for the passengers.

Stunt, study, or series?

Electronics companies are likely to enter the mobility market, due to the shift from combustion engines to hybrid and primarily electric powertrains. Apple is expected to present its car for years, and supplier companies such as Bosch and ZF have presented their studies on vehicles. However, the mobility market is not easy to conquer, as can be seen by Dyson, who announced in November 2019 that their electric car project is discontinued for economic considerations.
Similar to Aibo, the robot dog, which introduced in 1999, the Vision-S can be seen primarily as a platform that serves to showcase Sony's technological expertise. However, this does not rule out the possibility of a production-ready electric car from Sony; the Aibo is still in production today.

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About the author

 Florian Richert

Florian Richert

Product Manager | Editor, ngn - new generation network GmbH