CES 2020: Sony unveils Vision-S, an impressive electric concept car
For several years now, Sony has been showcasing technologies for automotive applications at CES Las Vegas.
For this year’s 2020 edition, the company is exhibiting a concept car, Vision-S, which illustrates its vision of the car of the future.
The electric platform, connected services, autonomous driving, Reality Audio 360 audio system Sony imagines an explosive cocktail of technologies for its Vision-S!
Sony and the automobile, a story that lasts
Don’t think of this concept as any kind of announcement from Sony considering going into the automobile business. It’s quite unlikely.
The vehicle presented here was created in collaboration with OEMs (Bosch, Continental), the Canadian group Magna and other big names in the tech world such as NVIDIA, Qualcomm and Here.
And if it’s true that this concept car created a surprise at CES, let’s specify that historically, Sony has always exhibited on its stand technological innovations intended for the automotive world.
Sony Vision-S, a concept car with autonomous driving capabilities
“Vision-S represents the fusion of Sony’s technology and creativity. It’s a glimpse into the future of mobility, encompassing the evolution of safety, comfort, entertainment, and modularity,” says the Vision-S website.
These are the pillars on which the company is building its concept car, both inside and out.
Let’s start with the exterior and the various electronic equipment that will be used for safety and driving aids. In total, the Vision-S concept would integrate 33 sensors of all kinds, including Sony CMOS sensor cameras to give the vehicle a 360-degree view.
Among these sensors, three LiDARs devices, allow us to imagine that the Vision-S would have semi-autonomous (maintaining course, speed control, etc.) and autonomous (level 4 and 5) driving capabilities, including automatic parking technologies.
In the end, this is not surprising for a concept car aimed at illustrating the future.
Moreover, this multiplication of sensors testifies to another of the manufacturer’s visions linked to autonomous driving and which is found under the name “Sony Safety Cocoon”. This has already been staged in September 2018 in a video produced by the Japanese teams of Sony semi-conductor.
Screens throughout the cabin
It’s also almost unsurprising that the living area is flooded with screens.
You could see from the first photo, above, that the conventional rear-view mirrors had been replaced here by cameras (IMX390); this means that the video feedback from these is done on screens on either side of the dashboard, as well as in place of the center mirror.
According to Sony, using cameras for rear-view and peripheral vision alerts the driver to dangers that the human eye is not yet able to see, especially in a conventional rear-view mirror.
It’s also quite “fun” to see that this image specialist is not shy about using terms such as “HDR” or “high brightness” to describe the ability of its digital cameras to produce a very detailed image.
Also on the safety technology side, the Vision-S incorporates a camera inside the cabin to monitor facial expressions and driver movement.
The objective here is obvious: to assess the driver’s concentration on the road and analyze fatigue. If there is a potential problem, an alert is transmitted to the passenger compartment.
At the front, the dashboard is lined with a wall of impressive screens, allowing the driver to have a fully customizable display for the meter section (between driving and navigation instructions) and to control the multimedia functions on a large central screen.
The front passenger is not to be outdone since he also has his own screen, on which he can consult his own content at will.
Connectivity and customization
After reviewing security and infotainment, the last pillar of the concept car is about personalization, and that includes connectivity.
Connectivity would allow the car to be managed remotely from the smartphone and a dedicated application, which Sony calls “Vision-S Link”.
The design side of Sony’s electric concept car was inspired by Tesla. On our side, we can’t help but find some Tesla Model 3 tunes.
And even if this product, the result of a collaboration between multiple actors, is only a concept car, it’s few technical characteristics are convincing.
The Vision-S is towed by two electric power packs, each with a power output of 200 kW, which would allow the concept to reach 0-100 km/h in a (not exactly record-breaking) time of 4.8 seconds.
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The maximum speed is announced at 240 km/h, but no range is indicated. Too bad for an electric car, even at the concept stage.