With a pair of 200-kilowatt motors sending power to all or any four wheels, Sony’s first car can go from 0 to 62 mph in 4.8 seconds. It can hit a top speed of 149 mph, albeit it weighs a hefty 5,180 pounds. the corporate hasn’t revealed how far the all-electric concept can go between charges, but that doesn’t much matter. Nor, really, do the remainder of those specs, since Sony isn’t getting to produce this car, which it revealed in the week at CES. What’s important and interesting about the Vision-S is how it emphasizes the role Sony can play in an age where performance matters far but how a vehicle treats its passengers.The rapid shift of the auto industry toward self-driving and connected vehicles has pulled players like Google, Apple, and Amazon into the car business, mostly with reference to infotainment systems. General Motors plans to use Android software in its future vehicles; Amazon just landed Lamborghini because the latest user of its embedded Alexa system.Sony already features a place within the auto industry. It provides speaker systems to a spread of automakers. Toyota and its luxury arm, Lexus, use Sony’s CMOS image sensors in some models to underpin automatic emergency-braking features. But now the corporate is looking to build up its offerings. “We will accelerate our efforts to contribute to the longer term of mobility,” president and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said at a news conference in Las Vegas . “This prototype embodies our contribution.” So it’s no surprise to ascertain that the Vision-S plays up two Sony strengths: consumer entertainment and sensors.The first is that the easier to ascertain here. The Vision-S features a bevy of screens, including one that stretches the length of the dashboard, like that within the upcoming Byton M-Byte SUV. These, of course, offer access to the music, games, and films within the company’s vast library. (The latter two are for when, as Sony says, you’re “relieved from car operations.”) “We believe that the evolution of mobility also will redefine cars as a replacement entertainment space,” Yoshida said.A 5G connection will ensure everything comes through with nary a flash of buffering. the 2 backseat passengers each get their own headrest-mounted screen. With speakers all round the car, including one in each seat, everyone can enjoy Sony’s immersive “360 Reality Audio” system, which debuted at CES 2019.Less eye-catching but even as vital are the 33 sensors placed around and within the sedan: a mixture of cameras, radars, ultrasonics, and lidar. quite half those will watch the car’s surroundings, allowing it to drive itself on the highway (with human supervision) and autonomously find a spot during a parking zone . A built-in dash cam records your life on the road, and other cameras pull in feeds for the digital rearview and side-view mirrors. A neat trick there: If some dope behind you leaves their high beams on, the Vision-S can automatically dim the brightness of the display. a rather creepier one: As you approach the car, the cameras will recognize you and tune the car’s settings to your liking. Naturally, one camera will watch the parents inside the car. If the driver’s getting sleepy, the car can suggest they take an opportunity . If passengers fall asleep , it can recline their seats and switch up the warmth to stay them cozy.
Sony built the Vision-S with help from industry supplier Magna to enhance its understanding of the car as an entire , Yoshida said. But he made clear Sony isn’t close to start stamping its own steel. (Making cars may be a tough game; just ask James Dyson.) And while little of the concept in Las Vegas is groundbreaking—big screens and piles of sensors are getting increasingly common in today’s cars—it’s a sign that Sony wants to carve out a much bigger , wider, and maybe more lucrative role within the car business of the longer term . you’ll never get to ride within the Vision-S, but someday it might be Sony providing the tools to stay you entertained, safe, and on the move.