Sony just made what might be one of the biggest surprise announcements at this year’s CES: a car. Called the Sony Vision-S, it’s an electric concept sedan that is meant to showcase the Japanese tech conglomerate’s many different strengths, from entertainment products to camera sensors and more.
In fact, the Vision-S features 33 different sensors inside and outside of the car, multiple widescreen displays, 360 audio, and always-on connectivity, with some pieces coming from industry players like BlackBerry and Bosch. It’s also powered by a “newly-designed EV platform” — which appears to have been engineered by automotive supplier Magna — that Sony says will be able to power other vehicle types, like SUVs.
The outside of the vehicle has some strong Porsche vibes, especially around the headlights, and in side profile it somewhat resembles the Lucid Motors Air. Inside, the Vision-S features a dashboard-spanning screen much like the one that Chinese EV startup Byton is putting in its cars, with screens for rear-seat passengers in the headrests.
“This prototype embodies our contribution to the future of mobility,” Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said.
The company announced the car at the tail end of its CES press conference, where it also unveiled the logo for the upcoming PlayStation 5. Sony only spent a minute or two discussing the car before ending the press conference, too, and so it left tons of questions unanswered. Does Sony (or Magna) intend to put this into production, or is it just meant to be a reference car? Will Magna let other companies build their own prototypes or reference cars on the platform?
And, of course: will we be able to play it in Gran Turismo?
Sony also announced that its successful image sensor division also seems to be making investments into technologies that are adjacent to self-driving, including LIDAR and Time-of-Flight cameras. Below, find a bit from the company’s press release about how it describes those investments.
CMOS image sensors which achieve high sensitivity, high definition and high dynamic range while also suppressing LED flicker*3 to deliver accurate object recognition, even in situations where conventionally detection has been difficult.
Solid State LiDAR which uses highly accurate distance measurement to gain a precise 3D grasp of real-life spaces.
Sensor fusion technology which merges the capabilities of sensors of varied attributes to enable early and accurate recognition, even in challenging conditions such as fog, backlight and night-time driving.
Time-of-Flight (ToF) in-cabin sensing solutions use distance measurement technology to detect and recognize people and objects inside the car. This information is used to provide an optimized infotainment system with intuitive interfaces such as gesture control and improve safety and comfort inside the vehicle.