Sony has announced plans to enter the car market with a dedicated mobility company, and has shown a pair of bespoke EV concepts at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The first EV was the Vision-S electric saloon which was shown in 2020 too, while the other was the Vision-S 02 SUV.
- Sony Mobility Inc expected to launch in the coming months
- Vision-S 02 measures just under 5m in length and 2m in width
- SUV’s screens can be connected to a Sony Playstation to play video games
Sony Mobility Inc: more details
The Japanese technology giant showed the Vision-S electric saloon in 2020 as a showcase of its autonomous driving and in-car entertainment systems, but, despite starting tests with a road-legal prototype a year later, it didn't suggest that a production variant would follow.
Now, the firm has said that it will launch a new operating company called Sony Mobility Inc in spring (March-May), through which it "intends to explore entry into the EV market.”
The company's business model will revolve around Sony's in-house-developed artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics technologies, which it said will "help realise a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society.”
As a result of this announcement, the Financial Times reports Sony's stock price went up by over 4.5 percent.
Sony Vision-S 02 SUV: what do we know so far?
As part of this expansion into the mobility sector, an initiative Sony refers to as Vision-S, it has revealed a second bespoke EV concept at CES 2022 in the form of the Vision-S 02 SUV. The new seven-seater uses the same platform and connectivity technology as its saloon sibling and is driven by a 272hp electric motor on each axle.
Sony hasn't released performance figures beyond confirming that the SUV will be able to exceed 180kph nor has it detailed its battery capacity. The seven-seat SUV measures 4,895mm in length, 1,930mm in width and 1,651mm in height, which makes it roughly the same size as the Tesla Model Y crossover.
Like its saloon sibling, it has been presented in seemingly production-ready form, with Sony even highlighting the extra space afforded by its folding rear seats.
In line with Sony's emphasis on autonomy, it features "high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide-dynamic-range" sensors all round to enhance safety. Sony is currently testing this technology on European roads and has plans of launching Level 2+ driver assistance systems.
Drawing on its experience in the entertainment sphere, Sony has also installed speakers in the seats to create a three-dimensional audio experience, which it says will make passengers feel as if they are "surrounded by the live performance of a favourite artist.”
The panoramic infotainment interface and individual rear displays can also be used for video playback or for playing video games via a remote connection to a Sony Playstation gaming console.
Sony won't be the first technology company to take the plunge into the automotive market. Apple has been developing its own EV since at least 2014, Google supplies infotainment software to a raft of manufacturers (including Ford and Volvo) and LG and Panasonic are among the most prolific EV battery suppliers on the market.
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