Is Tesla about to get some competition from a global electronics giant?
Sony is getting ready to take its Vision-S concept car from the motor show stand to the showroom floor.
Revealed at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, the Vision-S was initially billed as a “road-ready prototype vehicle that seeks to contribute to the evolution of mobility by exploring not only how cars work and how they are made, but also the relationship between society and cars”.
At 4895mm long, 1900mm wide, and 1450mm tall on a 3000mm wheelbase, the Vision-S is smaller than a Tesla Model S, but rides on a 40mm longer wheelbase.
It’s equipped with a huge technology suite to support Level 2 autonomous driving, including a combined 40 LiDar, radar, camera, and ultrasonic sensors.
Sony says the concept can park itself, has adaptive cruise control, self-parking, and auto lane-changing. It also says the vehicle is capable of Level 4 autonomy with software updates.
Power comes from a 200kW motor on each axle, good for a 100km/h sprint time of 4.8 seconds. Flat out it’ll do 240km/h.
When it was revealed, it wasn’t clear what the Vision-S represents for Sony.
It was officially described as a research and development base… but the concept looks production ready, and none of the promises Sony made were out of step with what other electric car startups are chasing.
Developing a concept car is no small feat, either, so it seems crazy to think the company would bother building one just for kicks. The chassis is built by Magna Steyr, and can even be adapted to fit other body types or vehicle sizes.
Sony subsequently told Car and Driver it isn’t planing to produce the Vision-S.
But the vehicle has this week been spied during development testing, suggesting the sedan could still see the light of day.
The vehicle pictured during testing looks largely unchanged from the concept, with a coupe-like roofline and short overhangs. There’s more than a hint of Peugeot 508 to the rear, while the front end is clean and Tesla-ish.
The interior of the Vision-S isn’t pictured here, but the concept packed a high-tech cabin with screens for every passenger.
Sony is promising 5G connectivity, and a 360-degree sound system.
Sony isn’t the first technology company to try and work its way into the automotive world.
Apple has reportedly been looking to get into the car manufacturing game, while Google has committed to the self-driving vehicle world with its Waymo subsidiary.
Sony is unique, however, in developing a fully functioning prototype vehicle to show off its automotive capabilities.