Sony surprises the auto industry by introducing its own electric car - Vision-S
Does this mean, more competition for Tesla?
I believe everybody on this platform is aware of the ongoing unofficial yet stupid horsepower race amidst carmakers. The urge to offer the highest number of ponies under the hood or floor (for EVs) as if this solely determines the supremacy of its products. Nevertheless, there might be another race which many won't be aware of. A competition between tech biggies like Apple and Google to come out with their version of electric cars. And now, Sony appears to have come out of nowhere and blow the competition away.
Surprising attendees at the ongoing CES 2020, tech conglomerate Sony unveiled its own electric concept. Called the Sony Vision-S, the electric prototype sedan is meant to showcase its various internal features rather than the concept electric car as a whole. Confused? Allow me.
If the reports are accurate, Sony's plans do not involve competing with Tesla or any other carmaker by mass manufacturing this car for the public. Instead, the tech corporation wishes to showcase the plethora of safety sensors equipped all-around along with its idea of the in-car entertainment's future.
Highlights include as many as 33 sensors being embedded inside the Vision-S prototype. The range extends from camera sensors built explicitly for the car and goes on until radar and ultrasonic sensors - all to provide a 360-degree view of the car, by the car and for the car ('s computer).
As you must've guessed by now, these sensors further help in assistive driving technologies such as advanced cruise control and self-parking, corresponding to Level 2+ autonomy. However, Sony claims the car can level up, literally, using over-the-air software updates up to Level 4. It seems there won't be much difference between our phones and cars. Shame!
Speaking of phones, like all other electric car manufacturers (read Tesla), even Sony has come up with an app to operate various functions of the car. This includes the car being summoned to your current location by a single tap on the app. And taking a step further, the vehicle's infotainment system is said to stay connected to the user's phone at all times. That means the vehicle's infotainment unit will co-ordinate with the user's phone automatically and replicate the map viewed by the user when outside or play the same song which the user must've been listening to while summoning the Vision-S.
Entertainment for the user doesn't end in just mirroring the user's playlist even before the user stepped inside the vehicle. Sony extends it further by integrating speakers into the seats itself, for more individualised hearing. As if headphones weren't personalised enough. Couple that with that beautiful panoramic screen setup on the Vision-S' dashboard and you wouldn't want to exit the car. Tesla, your portrait screen finally has competition, and it looks elegant, even after incorporating mirror screens on either side. Fantastic!
Picking up again from the sensor's front, those aren't restricted to exteriors. Inside the cabin, sensors will monitor the condition of drivers and passengers, which means the car will know every time your eye twitches. Alerts will be sent out if the sensors catch signs of driver fatigues. And if the sensors detect passengers to be in a drowsy state, the climate control will automatically be turned up to provide a more comfortable environment for…...sleeping. That's one feature I can get used to.
In terms of specifications, the Sony Vision-S is about 85mm shorter in length than the Tesla Model S and yet packs in about 40mm more wheelbase, indicating the possibility of a more spacious cabin. Powering this prototype are two electric motors, one on each axle, capable of catapulting this vehicle from a standstill to 100kph in 4.8 seconds. Musk would be grinning now.
Even though there are no confirmed plans to launch this car, Sony has done a great job with the Vision-S. Yes, the front end looks like a mashup between the Model S and the Porsche Taycan, but the spectacular interior is what gets my attention. Which it was supposed to, as it is this interior tech and the host of sensors which Sony emphasised on and further plans to market in the auto industry.