Sony sprung one of the surprises of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas by unveiling a brand new electric car concept. Vision-S could potentially compete with the other major electric cars on the market, particularly those of Tesla.
There were a good deal of details provided by Sony at the show, with the Japanese corporation indicating that the Vision-S features as many as 33 sensors. These make it possible for the vehicle to detect objects, while a Solid State LiDAR is also implemented in order to help avoid collisions.
The Vision-S is also a strong performer, having the ability to accelerate from 0-100kmh in 4.8 seconds. Although this is an impressive speed, it doesn’t quite much up to the Tesla 3, which can achieve the same feat in just 3.4 seconds.
But Sony has taken advantage of its massive reputation in the electronics industry by designing and including an attractive in-car package. The company has built a panoramic screen into the front of the vehicle, making it possible to consume content via the dashboard. Sony’s “360 reality audio” surround sound technology is also provided for every seat in the Vision-S.
This is certainly an ambitious project from Sony, considering the technical challenges involved in building a roadworthy vehicle. The other major players in electric cars have all been established auto manufacturers, and Sony will certainly face major barriers for entry in this industry.
And other device makers that have attempted to produce electric cars have been less than successful. Chinese company LeEco folded after attempting a similar project in 2016. Of course, Sony is much bigger and more established than LeEco, but producing a roadworthy electric vehicle is certainly a massive departure for the electronics giant. Dyson also scrapped an electric car project.
But the decision to produce the Vision-S can also be seen as a calculated gamble. Sony may never be able to manufacture a successful vehicle, but if the Vision-S doesn’t catch on with consumers then it can sell sensors and accessories to other electric car makers, gaining a foothold in the industry into the bargain. This can be seen to be a much more plausible direction for Sony in the longer term.
And the Vision-S should be viewed very much as a prototype, designed with the intention of showcasing sensors and in-car entertainment technologies. Indeed, Sony gave no indication that it would sell the car to the general public in the foreseeable future. “We will accelerate our efforts to contribute to the future of mobility,” Sony’s chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida commented at the show.
Apple Car comparisons
Sony’s vehicle is sure to draw comparisons with the much mooted Apple Car, which is expected to be finally unveiled by the electronics behemoth in the years to come. Apple has declined to confirm the existence of the Apple Car, but several leaks have all but confirmed that such a vehicle is currently in development.
Studies suggest that there will be as many as 125 million electric cars on the road by 2030.