Sony’s The Vision S prototype sedan, one of the biggest surprises at CES last year, hasn’t faded after the technology fair ended.
The Vision-S is back in a series of new videos Sony released in 2021 CES, what started on monday. Two Videos show driving and driving the Vision-S prototype on a private route then public roads in Austria. But it’s a third, longer video (see below) that sheds more light on how Sony designed and developed the prototype, its partners, and some of the technology that sits under the hood.
According to Frank Stein, president of the contract manufacturer Magna Steyr, one of Sony’s partners, the Vision-S prototype seems to be just the starting point for Sony. Stein, interviewed in the nearly 9-minute video, suggests that Sony and Magna continue the partnership. This could help quell speculation that the prototype was just an alliance.
The video and other information on its website suggest that Sony and its many partners have continued to develop the vehicle over the past year.
According to Izumi Kawanishi, senior vice president of the company featured in the video, Sony increased the number of sensors in the vehicle to 40 for 360-degree detection and experimented with ways to improve their skills. Sony has also developed a system to check the safety of the connected vehicle.
The dashboard-length screen shown below has five playing card-sized tiles in the center labeled Camera, Settings, Navigation, Music, and Video.
Footage suggests several other features that have been added or are in development, including a voice assistant, gesture controls, entertainment like video games, the ability to wirelessly update the vehicle’s software, 5G connectivity, and a driver monitoring system that uses an In- Cabin camera. The camera, which Sony describes in more detail on its website, is particularly interesting.
The camera is used to identify and recognize the condition of the occupant. If a sleeping passenger is detected in the back seat, according to Sony, the car automatically regulates the climate around this seat to a suitable temperature. The system evolves in daily use and learns the driver’s preferred temperature as well as music and driving routes. The actual driving data will be used to make the space more comfortable, according to the company.
The video showed a number of partners at Vision-S, including Bosch and Continental, the Hungarian startup for automated driving AIMotive, the software company Elektrobit Automotive, the French automotive supplier Valeo, the telecommunications giant Vodafone and the German auto parts manufacturer ZF Group. The collection of partners that includes mapping company HERE, Nvidia and Blackberry / QNX, and Qualcomm leaves no doubt that one day there will be a Sony car that consumers can buy.
“Getting closer to people is our business direction,” said Izumi Kawanishi, Sony Senior Vice President, in the video. “I think mobility serves as a tool to achieve this.”