It looks like Sony is going full force in the automotive industry. It’s been months since we’ve last heard of updates about its Vision-S electric vehicle other than it being road-tested. But the company has finally broken its silence on the project at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by debuting a new company and a new concept.
The first car is now called the Vision-S 01 as the tech giant now has a second vehicle. Predictably called the Vision-S 02 (because Sony has never been good with product names), and it simply looks like a taller and bigger iteration of the 01. Props to the company for keeping its product line consistent.
It is 4,895mm long, 1,930mm wide, and 1,650mm tall. It can also seat seven, so this might be the vehicle that more people will end up buying. Each of the two electric motors outputs 268hp, and the vehicle has a claimed top speed of over 180km/h. The 02 focuses on autonomous driving so it’s loaded with 40 sensors consisting of cameras, LIDAR, time-of-flight, and 5G modems and antennas.
Sony calls it the “Safety Cocoon” concept, where all of these sensors work together to monitor both the outside and the driver. The vehicle is currently capable of Level 2+ driver assistance, but the company aims to make Vision-S vehicles reach Level 4 or higher in the future via software updates.
It wouldn’t be a Sony product without its other gadgets making an appearance. For the entertainment side, there’s a panoramic dashboard screen (like Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen), and displays for fussy passengers at the back.
You can control the interface via a separate touchscreen, a rotary knob, by voice and, wait for it, a DualShock 4 controller. There’s Sony’s 360 Reality Audio so passengers can enjoy spatial audio, and you can stream music and videos, and even play PlayStation games (we hope Sony’s implementation won’t be as messy as Tesla’s).
Finally, Sony is going to establish a new company under the name Sony Mobility Inc. It aspires to enter the EV market through this firm, and we will hopefully see production versions of Vision-S vehicles released under this banner soon.