Sony EV Vision-S

Sony’s EV Vision unveiled at CES 2022

Image credit: Sony

Sony used its press conference at CES 2022 to confirm that it is setting up its own electric car company, Sony Mobility Inc., through which the company intends to explore entry into the EV market.

At CES 2020, Sony announced 'Vision-S', an initiative aimed at "contributing to the evolution of mobility", exhibiting a prototype vehicle at its booth. In December of that year, Sony began public road testing in Europe and started verification tests of the safety and user experience of the imaging and sensing technology installed inside and outside the vehicle, and the human-machine interface (HMI) system.

In April 2021, Sony began 5G driving tests, bringing its own cutting-edge technologies to bear in order to provide new experiences in the realm of mobility, as it undergoes a shift to electric vehicles (EV).

Now, at CES 2022, Sony has presented a new SUV-type prototype vehicle that "accommodates diverse values and lifestyles". The company said that Vision-S continues its aim of evolving mobility to be even closer to people, while developing technologies centered on safety and security, adaptability and entertainment.

The prototype vehicle ('Vision-S 02') is new form factor and the vehicle uses the same EV/cloud platform as the original prototype ('Vision-S 01'), which is already being tested on public roads.

By offering entertainment experiences using the large interior space and variations of a seven-seater, the new prototype is designed to promote the accommodation of a large variety of lifestyles within a society where values are becoming increasingly diversified.

The Vision-S system aims to support safe driving by recognising and analysing the surrounding environment in real time, with sensors installed 360 degrees around the vehicle. These sensors include high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide dynamic range CMOS image sensors and LiDAR sensors that accurately sense three-dimensional space.

In addition, the system provides intuitive driver interaction in conjunction with the vehicle's sound system and HMI system, so that the driver can accurately judge the status of the surrounding environment, such as the presence of emergency vehicles, even from inside the vehicle. Sony aims to provide greater safety and comfort to all through its sensor and communication technologies, and is currently conducting functional verification tests in Europe toward the release of Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on public roads.

Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors are used to provide monitoring functions for driver authentication and to watch over passengers. They also support intuitive gesture and voice commands that are intended to enhance usability of the car interface. Additionally, in order to deliver an environment that suits each user's preferences, the vehicle will include a new function that allows users to customise the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle.

Vehicle settings, key locks and user settings can be synchronised by linking the vehicle to the cloud using mobile communication, including 5G communication, which features low-latency, high-capacity, and high-speed capabilities. In addition, since updates are reflected in the vehicle via over the air (OTA), it is possible to provide security and evolve service functions and value-added offerings continuously.

Leveraging its knowledge of communication technology and security cultivated through the development of its smartphones, Sony has also positioned remote operation as an important technology in anticipation of the arrival of the autonomous driving era. To achieve this, Sony conducted driving experiments connecting Japan and Germany with 5G and it is now working with its partners to achieve low-latency transmission (video and control signals) and communication control (monitoring and prediction) using the telematics system installed in the prototype vehicles.

Enriching the in-cabin entertainment experience is also a key area of focus for Sony. The seat speakers, which create a three-dimensional sound field, and the streaming service compatible with '360 Reality Audio' provide an immersive music experience as if passengers are surrounded by the live performance of a favourite artist.

In addition, to provide a high-quality movie experience, Vision-S also includes a fully integrated digital video service, called 'Bravia Core for Vision-S'. This service enables shared or individual video playback on the front panoramic screen and individual rear-seat displays.

Gaming capabilities have also been expanded, allowing occupants to play PlayStation games through a remote connection to a console at home, in addition to the ability to play streaming games through the cloud.

Sony stated that the new Sony Mobility company will aim to make the best use of AI and robotics technologies, to "help realise a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion and contribute to society".

Sign up to the E&T News e-mail to get great stories like this delivered to your inbox every day.

Recent articles