Sony springs a surprise with advanced Vision-S concept car at CES 2020

by James Attwood, Autocar UK 07 Jan 2020

Technology giant Sony has revealed a bold electric concept car called the Vision-S at CES in Las Vegas, to showcase its autonomous driving and in-car entertainment systems.

The four-door saloon was unveiled at the tech show by Sony boss Kenichiro Yoshida, who said it “embodies our contribution to the future of mobility.” It features a raft of technology that showcases ‘the contribution Sony intends to make to realise a highly advanced autonomous driving society.”

While it is unclear if Sony has any plans to make its own cars, or simply intends to develop technology to sell to existing manufacturers, Yoshida said that: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade. I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility.”

Few technical details of the concept, which is understood to have been developed and built with the help of partners including Magna Steyr, Bosch, Nvidia and others, but Sony says it is powered by a pair of 268bhp electric motors. These give it a 0-100kph time of 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 149mph / 238kph.

The key goal of the Vision-S is to showcase Sony’s automotive-relevant technology. It has 33 sensors of varying types embedded within it; these can identify people and objects both inside and outside the car as part of a ‘safety cocoon’.

They include CMOS image sensors, which Sony claims offer high definition and high dynamic range while suppressing LED flicker, and Solid State LiDAR.

Inside, the Vision-S features a number of Time-of-Flight (ToF) in-car sensors that can detect and recognise people within, to optimise infotainment and comfort systems.

The concept also features AI, telecommunication and cloud technology, all accessed via a large panoramic touchscreen that dominates the dashboard, and which Sony says is operated via an “intuitive user interface”.

Sony isn't the first tech firm to show interest in the automotive world. Apple has previously evaluated its own autonomous car project, while Samsung has an automotive division working on advanced autonomous systems.