Sony enters the electric vehicle market with their new EV announced at the Consumer Electronics Show. Is this the new Tesla or just an electric pipe dream? We look into the new kid on the block.
Sony is a big player in the world of consumer electronics, those of us of a certain age will remember the birth of portable music with the Walkman and generations have been Sony drivers for many years, however to date this has been limited to games on the famous Playstation.
Is Elon Musk quaking in his boots at the introduction of a new, potential rival with the Vision-S? Well, the answer is no. Not least as Sony have no intention to mass produce the vehicle or even offer it as a limited edition vehicle. So, this will be a car you may want, but sadly, you will never be able to own one!
So what is Sony playing at? Unlike a usual concept car, the Vision-S is a working prototype, however, and perhaps unsurprisingly it provides superb creature comforts in the form of state of the art entertainment systems.
The impressive central display reaches across the vehicle with touchscreens for both the driver and passenger where you can access music, games and movies to make your journey pass more easily. Rear seat passengers have their own touch screens as well as speakers built into the headrests which, we are told, could allow each passenger to watch and listen to their own content individually.
Sony have gone to town with a fully working user experience with intuitive menus allowing easy access to content using the touch screens or via a separate trackpad built into the central console. The consensus was that the displays and the in-built software were exciting, however you would expect nothing less from one of the biggest names in the industry.
Sony is well-known for its cameras and image sensors. They have embedded two sensors into the vehicle replacing the rear-view and side mirrors as well as other locations across the vehicle. These are supplemented by 33 other sensors including LIDAR, radar and ultrasonic. Demonstrating their capability to create self-driving, autonomous vehicles.
Sony speaks of a ‘Safety Cocoon’ concept, monitoring all directions around the vehicle as well as the passengers within. The collection of sensors provide a 360 degree view, the ‘oval’ continuously monitors the environment the car is in.
It makes for an astonishing showcase for the automotive industry and could see Sony technology being at the heart of a number of manufacturers vehicles. However, if the intention was not to produce road going vehicles, why did they feel they needed to build a fully working vehicle.
The answer lies in the experience gained by the process, Yuhei Yabe, the general manager of Sony Corporation’s AI and robotics business group stated that; “through the process of building the prototype, we started to learn a lot about the architecture of the vehicle, we started to think about how our other technologies could be implemented in a vehicle,” The Sony team worked with well-known manufacturer Magna who have helped them create a car which can go from 0 to 60 in less than five seconds and boasts a top speed of almost 150 miles per hour.
So, we may not be able to buy a full Sony electric vehicle anytime soon, however you can be sure that we will be seeing Sony technology as part of a wide range of vehicles in the not too distant future. So, when you are playing a ‘shoot em up’ while your car is autonomously driving you to the office, you will know where it all came from!