A year ago, Sony surprised the audience of El Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2020 with an electric car, the Sony Vision-S. Nobody expected it, really. The prototype featured a giant screen as a dashboard, all kinds of sensors for autonomous driving and a generously sized saloon design: 4.89 m long by 1.90 m wide and 1.45 m high. It is about the size of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
But the car was not going to remain a mere prototype for the time of an event. The Sony Vision-S began its road tests last December. In a video published by the company, we see for the first time Sony’s electric car on the roads of Europe.
The first tests were conducted in Austria, the car sporting a Graz, Asutria license plate. Remember that Magna, which owns a factory in Graz from where the Mercedes G Class and the electric Jaguar i-Pace, among others, fopened the Vision-S for Sony.
The video does not reveal too much, however it is clear that the car exhibits a number of very current features, as there are visible sensors on the front and rear bumpers. The Vision-S also has rear cameras instead of side mirrors, in the style of the Honda’s, for example.
In 2020, Sony explained that the Vision-S would have 33 sensors in total. All of these would work together to support a host of Level 2 driver aids. That number has risen to 40, but it’s unclear what those additional sensors will be used for or why they were added.
Thus, the Vision-S currently has 40 sensors, including 4 LIDARs, 18 ToF cameras and 18 radars. At the “mechanical” level, Sony speaks of two engines, with a total power of 560 hp and a 0 to 100 km / h in 4.8 seconds.
Autonomous driving to play with the PlayStation
The most striking feature of the original Vision-S concept was a large widescreen display that spanned the entire dash, and Sony seems to stick with it as it continues to develop the car. At one point in the video, you can see a PlayStation controller connected to the screen and with the ‘Little Big Planet’, a PlayStation game, on the screen.
Sony’s goal is to come up with a Level 2 self-driving car. That’s for starters, obviously. Little by little, the goal is to reach the highest level possible. To the point that the driver can enjoy a game of ‘Gran Turismo’, while the car drives alone.
At the moment, Sony does not detail anything about the battery, neither its capacity nor its consumption. In the same way, it keeps the secret about whether they develop a system to be suppliers, as Bosch would be, for example, or if they intend to end up manufacturing the car in series.
In the latter case, Sony could count on Magna, a manufacturer that does not have its own brand, but does have the experience to manufacture and help in the development of cars of all kinds, including electric cars, for third parties.
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