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CES: Sony shows off vehicle tech with Vision-S

All-electric Vision-S sedan prototype lets Sony show off vehicle capabilities

10 Jan 2020

JAPANESE electronics conglomerate Sony has shocked punters at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at Las Vegas with the reveal of the Vision-S prototype electric sedan, designed to showcase the brand’s vehicular technology.


While some may think this means we’ll be seeing Sony-branded cars on the road in the future, the brand confirmed to Japanese publication Impress Watch that the prototype is simply a way for Sony to show off its latest in driving tech and infotainment capability.


Sony says it “wants to re-imagine mobility as we know it” by leveraging its technological prowess and has built the Vision-S to better understand what is required of vehicles moving into the future.


The Japanese brand has placed a particular emphasis on safety technology, connectivity and infotainment systems, debuting a new advanced safety system using an array of cameras and monitors.


Sony’s ‘Safety Cocoon’ system debuts in the Vision-S, comprising 33 sensors placed all around the outside as well as on the inside of the vehicle, all-owing for 360-degree monitoring of traffic conditions.


The sensors provide assistance for functions such as advanced cruise control, automatic parking and lane-change functions enabling an autonomous rating of Level 2+, continuous improvements through software updates resulting in a goal of Level 4 autonomy or higher in the future.


Sony believes its camera sensors will be able to detect approaching vehicles and pedestrians before being seen by the human eye, while the side and rear-view mirrors are replaced by cameras projecting images on to screens, which can combat problems such as headlight glare by adjusting brightness to suit.


Sensors inside the vehicle can also monitor the condition of drivers and passengers, gauging concentration and fatigue levels while also adjusting cabin temperature according to the condition and feelings of passengers.


The cabin of the Vision-S is highlighted by an expansive set of digital screens that run the full width of the dashboard, and will be compatible with watching movies or other videos once the car reaches autonomous capability.


Being Sony, gamers may also one day be able to play their PlayStation while being driven to their destination.


A sophisticated sound system named 360 Reality Audio has been installed in the Vision-S, which employs object-based spatial audio technology to create a sense of realism in the audio unlike anything else.


Using a smartphone app, users can summon their car in a parking lot in a similar fashion to Tesla models, and the car will team with the phone to provide functions such as transferring music that was being listened on headphones in to the car.


The all-electric platform sees batteries stored under the cabin floor, and has been designed for compatibility with a number of vehicle types including SUVs and people movers.


Sony also said it was designed to achieve top scores in independent safety tests around the world, and constantly evolve with over-the-air updates through the upcoming 5G network.


The Vision-S employs a pair of 200kW electric motors on the front and rear axles respectively, allowing for a sprint from standstill to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 240km/h.


Visually, the 4895mm long, 2350kg four-door sedan draws parallels with Porsche’s Taycan from the front, with a similar headlight signature, but with a sloping bonnet reminiscent of a Tesla Model 3.


Long, thin tail-lights give the rear end a sense of width, while the panoramic glass sunroof gives occupants an open, roomy cabin feel.


Sony worked together with Austrian manufacturer Magna Steyr to develop the Vision-S.

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