Vision-S – Sony’s first luxury car is already driving through Austria

CES 2021
Vision-S: Sony’s first luxury car is already driving through Austria

The car is still only on the road with a driver.

© Sony / PR

New bang from Sony. Work on the Vision-S continued, a video shows it on the streets of Austria. The project has come a long way – it is quite possible that Sony really wants to get into the auto business.

Last year, Sony’s Vision S prototype sedan was one of the biggest surprises at CES. Now the sedan is back at CES 2021. Sony has not wasted the time, the vehicle drives and that also on public roads in Austria.

The choice of the country is in fact not that surprising because the Canadian-Austrian supplier Magna is one of Sony’s partners. And the production of the prototypes takes over. Frank Klein, President of Magna Steyr, indicates that the partnership between Sony and Magna will continue. So Sony takes the car seriously. Click here if you want to see the full width of the photo series.

Technology matters

As beautiful as the sedan looks inside and out, the components that are part of autonomous driving, i.e. the sensors and the electronic heart of the car, are really important. Izumi Kawanishi, Sony senior vice president, says the number of sensors on the vehicle has increased to 40 to provide 360-degree coverage. Sony is also said to have developed a system that checks the safety of the connected vehicle.

At the same time, Sony is working on equipping the interior with new features. These include a voice assistant, gesture control and entertainment such as video games. “The driver and passengers were the focus of development. And the question of how best to support and entertain them on the move,” says Yuhei Yabe, the project manager for the Vision-S. A camera that monitors the occupants of the vehicle is interesting. If it detects a sleeping passenger in the back seat, for example, the car automatically brings the climate around this seat to a suitable temperature, according to Sony. In use, the system should get to know the driver and his characteristics better and then know the preferred temperature, favorite music and the route.

Just show or serious intentions?

Sony is not working alone on the project. The partners range from Bosch and Continental to the Hungarian start-up company for automated driving AIMotive to the chip manufacturers Nvidia and Qualcomm. The accumulation of know-how of these partners shows that the prototype is much more than a demonstrator. Seat tests in the prototype prove that the car has been planned down to the last detail. For a pure show vehicle that is only supposed to demonstrate the capabilities of the technology partners in an object, so much effort in detail would be unusual. The sedan looks too conservative for that. Typical show details such as doors that open in opposite directions or gigantic wing doors are missing on the model.

Established manufacturers are finding it just as difficult with autonomous cars as they were with electric drives before. These are tempting prospects for career changers, especially since they can have the actual car planned and produced by the major suppliers. It is quite possible that this high-profile group will also build the car.

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