Most of the Sony-related headlines coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this month are related to the PlayStation 5. However, the Japanese company surprised almost everyone by unveiling a new concept car too. It’s a far cry from their usual cameras, televisions, and video game consoles.
Sony premiered the Vision-S concept car at CES in Las Vegas this week. It’s a technologically advanced electric car. Sony promises that it contains a bevy of advanced sensors that can detect humans both inside and outside of the vehicle. A spokesperson claimed that all the cameras, sensors, and software combine to form a “highly advanced driving support” system.
From a safety standpoint, it seems like the Vision-S could be a glimpse of the future. Sony is touting a “safety cocoon” that will bring increased peace of mind to both drivers and passengers. The Vision-S features 12 different cameras to monitor everything around (and inside) the car. When combined with an array of sensors, the Vision-S “enables 360-degree recognition of traffic conditions” and “precise driving assistance, such as advanced cruise control, self-parking and auto-lane change functions, that corresponds to Level 2+ driver assistance.”
The interior cameras will even monitor the driver to gauge their level of concentration or spot signs of fatigue. The Vision-S will send out alerts or adjust the cabin temperature accordingly.
Sony also promises that software updates will eventually aim for the Vision-S to have Level 4 (or higher) self-driving capabilities.
From an entertainment perspective, the Vision-S features a complete panoramic screen as the dashboard. Along with displaying the relevant driving information, the touchscreen can also be used for navigation or streaming video. Sony’s concept also features “360 Reality Audio,” something the company claims is more immersive than typical car stereo systems. This system is helped by placing speakers in each individual seat, allowing for individual customization for each listener.
Sony didn’t release much performance information about the Vision-S. They claim is can go from 0-to-60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 149 mph. It features all-wheel drive from two 200 kW motors. They didn’t offer a driving range before the battery is dead.
The Vision-S features a ground clearance of 120-to-135 mm. It also uses a “double wishbone front and rear suspension, with air spring system” as axles. The car weighs 5,180 lbs (2,350 kg). It only seats four people.
Another Online Vehicle
Sony did tout the car’s connectivity. The Vision-S can be partially controlled via a smartphone app. Most notably, it includes a summon feature, similar to Tesla models. The company also promises seamless integration for things like maps and streaming music. The software will update over-the-air. Sony claims the artificial intelligence of the Vision-S will continue to learn about you as you drive. That means it will start to know things like your preferred temperature, playlists, or even your favorite route to work.
Can You Buy One?
At this point, you cannot buy a Vision-S. The car is merely a concept that Sony is using to show off some of its cool technology. However, there’s a good chance that some of its innovations will be licensed out to other car makers. Or just copied directly.
As you’re probably aware, Sony has zero history of producing vehicles. It’s very unlikely that they would attempt to actually turn the Vision-S into a full production car. Their website even states that the “content and prototype vehicle are intended to illustrate our future concepts in the area of mobility.” Consider is more of a proof-of-concept experiment than anything else. It probably won’t ever sit in your driveway.
In fact, the Vision-S project leader Izumi Kawanishi explicitly told Japanese website Impress Watch that Sony has zero plans to sell the car in the near future.
“After the mobile paradigm shift by smartphone, there should be a big change in mobility,” Kawanishi said according to a translation of the interview. “[It’s] what we can do with cars as Sony. We pursue the possibilities and technologies that can contribute to evolution. The concept is to create a space where you can relax and enjoy the ultimate safety and security.”
In the meantime, you can drool over these photos and keep dreaming. Maybe some day you’ll own a Sony car.