Is Sony now really thinking of making cars with Vision-S 02?
At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony presented its second electric car prototype, an enhanced electric SUV version of the already known sedan. However, unlike in 2020, the chances of series production are now much better: Sony says it wants to examine this step soon.
The CES is more and more becoming a motor show. A lot of manufacturers are also presenting their automotive novelties there. Sony is not (yet?) a car manufacturer, but two years ago, it showed the VISION-S 01 electric sedan at the CES.
The VISION-S 02 is an SUV offshoot of this car. Both models use the same eMobility and cloud platforms; the focus for Sony is primarily on the ‘entertainment experience’ in the interior with 5G connectivity and infotainment offerings – the e-drive is virtually just an accessory.
Few technical details
Sony does not go into further details about the technical data of the drive. So all that remains is the known information about the sedan: Benteler, Bosch, Continental, the Canadian-Austrian contract manufacturer Magna Steyr and ZF were involved in the development.
The electric car study has two electric motors that jointly deliver 400 kW. The European suppliers’ platform and electric car components form the basis on which Sony can build its expertise in sensor and safety technology for autonomous driving and infotainment.
At the front, the VISION-S 02 and the sedan resemble each other closely, but the SUV is a seven-seater. For aerodynamic reasons, the new, aerodynamically clad rims and the arched roofline stand out in the side view. At Sony, they chose this body shape “to promote adaptation to a variety of lifestyles in a society with increasingly diversified values”.
All about communication
The VISION-S 02 features high-resolution CMOS image sensors (sort of cameras) to monitor the car’s surroundings and a Lidar system to more accurately capture three-dimensional space. “Sony aims to provide greater safety and convenience for all with its sensor and communication technologies,” an official statement said.
The company is now testing prototypes of the car, primarily concentrating on its autonomous drive capacities. Other features include improved gesture control, a low-latency 5G system, and in-seat speakers designed to create a three-dimensional sound experience. Over the air (OTA) updates are obviously available in such a vehicle.
Thinking about entering the car business
“Sony is well-positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility,” said CEO Kenichiro Yoshida in a statement at the CES opening.
Both Sony BEVs could indeed come to market, with the Japanese electronics giant now announcing plans to set up a subsidiary. Sony Mobility will be launched in spring 2022 “to explore a possible entering of the electric car market”. However, the company does not give a time frame when a decision will be made.
Sony is not the only tech giant looking into the car business lately. We all know of the numerous attempts of Apple to diversify into it eventually, but also its Chinese competitor Xiaomi announced a few months ago that it created a new daughter company, Xiaomi Auto, with a $10 billion starting capital.