Sony brought its sleek proof-of-concept to the CES 2022 stage this week. The SUV, referred to as Vision-S 02, is an all-electric seven-seater made to integrate with “a large variety of lifestyles.” Sony says the prototype is currently being tested on public roads.
The tech giant had actually shown off a concept EV (Vision-S 01) at CES two years prior, but the prototype remained just that: a proof of Sony’s EV prowess that never actually made it into anyone’s home garage. Instead, Sony took the EV/cloud computing platform it had made for the Vision-S 01 and developed the new SUV around it, allowing the company to explore a larger cabin area without sacrificing its in-vehicle entertainment options.
Much like its predecessor, the Vision-S 02 is covered in CMOS image and LIDAR sensors meant to sense three-dimensional space. This is vital to the EV’s driver assistance system, which isn’t quite Tesla’s autopilot (this may be a good thing) but enhances the driver’s ability to judge their outside environment and accommodate oncoming emergency vehicles. Not only does the system interact directly with the driver, but it interfaces with the EV’s sound and human-machine interface (HMI) systems, allowing the driver to hear external signals when they arise.
The vehicle also contains a suite of Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors. While these are partly used to “watch over” passengers—something Sony hasn’t exactly explained the meaning of—they also exist for driver authentication purposes, or to prevent non-authorized individuals from driving the vehicle. Cloud integration allows drivers to mold the EV’s performance to match their preferences; Sony says drivers can go so far as to “customize the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle.”
Those familiar with Sony’s audio technology may be unsurprised to learn that the Vision-S 02 is outfitted with “360 Reality Audio,” which works to create a three-dimensional sound field. Other entertainment features include Bratvia Core, a digital video service that enables shared or individual video playback on the front panoramic screen and individual rear-seat displays, as well as the ability to play PlayStation games inside the vehicle by remotely connecting to a console back at home.
Sony will establish “Sony Mobility Inc.,” a new operating company, this spring when it plans to explore entry into the EV market.
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