There were plenty of surprises at CES 2020, but few as out-of-the-blue as Sony’s debut of a fully functional prototype electric vehicle, backed by its connected-car platform, Vision-S.
- Sony has a history of developing breakthrough products, but the concept car is meant to highlight an assortment of auto-related technologies it’s developing
- The concept vehicle uses twin motors capable of hitting 62 mph in 4.8 seconds and topping out at 149 mph
- Don’t expect to see a production version of the electric vehicle, but Sony hopes to provide things like sensors and infotainment systems to existing auto manufacturers
The automobile is being transformed into a tech device on wheels, as Sony clearly wanted to demonstrate by rolling out an all-electric concept vehicle at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Working with partners including NVIDIA, Continental, Bosch, ZF, and Qualcomm, Sony equipped the concept with 33 different sensors capable of detecting other vehicles and pedestrians, as well as people inside its four-door cabin. It’s also outfitted with several widescreen video displays, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio system and always-on connectivity – everything controlled by the Japanese tech giant’s Vision-S connected car platform.
Sony’s show car features an array of sensors, infotainment technologies and the Sony Vision-S connected car platform. (Photo: Sony)
“This prototype embodies our contribution to the future of mobility,” Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said.
Exactly what that translates into was left hanging, Yoshida and other Sony officials leaving numerous questions about the concept car unanswered. That includes range, though the company did indicate the electric vehicle is powered by twin 268-hp motors that could launch it from 0 to 100 kmh, or 62 mph, in 4.8 seconds.
The prototype was built with the assistance of Magna Steyr, a Canadian auto supplier that has frequently toyed with the idea of launching its own auto brand. But Sony doesn’t appear to want to build cars. Instead, it would like to grab a share of the booming business for onboard technologies like infotainment and advanced driver assistance systems, or ADAS.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Like so many other consumer electronics firms, Sony wants a piece of automotive action as vehicles become more and more like smart digital devices on wheels.