Sony has released new videos for the prototype Sony Vision-S electric sedan testing on Austrian roads, revealing just how far the electronics giant has come in the development of its electric prototype.
Sony first presented the Vision-S at CES 2020 in Las Vegas in January 2020. Since then, Sony has apparently developed the prototype further together with various partner companies.
The video, that you can see at the bottom of this article, show the Vision-S in wintry conditions on roads in Austria. Another video shows the development of such a car and its technology as shared during this week’s now-online technology expo, CES2021.
As Sony is an electronics company, rather than a carmaker, it is choosing not to develop its first electric vehicle on its own.
Rather, it is cooperating with the well-known automotive supplier and manufacturer Magna Steyr from Austria – an approach similar to recent reports that Apple is partnering with Hyundai to benefit from the experienced automobile manufacturer’s know-how to produce its first own car.
But don’t get too excited about the possibility of buying a Sony car electric in the near future; the Vision-S is merely intended to provide a vehicle (literally) for the development of image sensing technology, and according to the company’s website, “to illustrate our future concepts in the area of mobility.”
The Vision-S, which sports a Tesla-like panoramic glass roof, also promises to rival its Californian competitor’s high-tech electric vehicle range in terms of sensors and connectivity.
Sony has added a slew of 30+ sensors to the Vision-S that it says will capture the vehicle surroundings at a 360-degree angle.
The dashboard is dominated by a huge panoramic display with five sections in the middle that are used to control the camera, settings, navigation, music and video functions.
An integrated 5G connection allows the vehicle’s software should be able to be updated quickly over-the-air.
Sony has also paid attention to camera functions, an area in which the Japanese company is well-known for its expertise.
According to a description of the Vision-S prototype on Sony’s website, a camera installed in the interior identifies occupants and can even lip-read to ensure optimum voice control.
While Sony has chosen to share several specifications of its electric prototype including size, weight, power and maximum speed, details such as battery size and driving range are apparently still under wraps.
In addition to Magna Steyr, Bosch, Continental, AImotive (a start-up from Hungary), Elektrobit (belongs to Continental), Valeo, Vodafone and ZF are among Sony’s cooperation partners.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.