Why car makers should be afraid of Sony's electric car Vision-S

Sony took the covers off Vision-S at the ongoing Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 being held in Las Vegas.The Vision-S gets as many as 33 unique sensors on the exterior as well as inside, features a plethora of widescreen displays, 360 degree audio and always-on connectivity system.
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| Updated on: 16 Jan 2020, 09:43 AM
Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida unveils the Vision-S electric concept car during a press event for CES 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (AFP)
Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida unveils the Vision-S electric concept car during a press event for CES 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (AFP)

One of the biggest surprises at this year's CES 2020 came in the form of a new concept car unveiled by the entertainment and tech giant Sony - a move that must make traditional car makers worried, says a new report.

According to data-driven market research company Cascend, the car was built by Sony's internal AI and robotics team (who makes their robotic dog, Aibo) with (significant) engineering support from Austria-based automotive contract manufacturer Magna Steyr.

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"With increasing sensors, displays, controllers and infotainment, vehicles are becoming more-and-more like electronics products," said the report.

Sony already makes display and infotainment systems which are becoming much more important parts of the car and controls.

Sony also makes high-res CMOS optical cameras and sensors, solid state lidar, radar and time-of-flight sensors -- integrated into an advanced driver assistance system which Sony calls its 'Safety Cocoon'," the report added.

Called the Sony Vision-S, the concept car is an electric concept sedan.

It comes equipped with a phenomenal 33 different sensors both outside and inside the car, a widescreen display, 360 degree audio, and always-on connectivity, with some pieces coming from industry players like BlackBerry and Bosch.

Vision S is also powered by a "newly-designed EV platform" -- engineered by automotive supplier Magna.

"Sony outsourced much of the "car stuff" from autoparts makers powered by an EV "platform" (supposedly engineered by auto supplier Magna) that Sony expects will be able to power other vehicles (like SUVs)," the report said.

Electric vehicles are a massive disruption in car-makers' manufacturing processes. Their core technologies around combustion engines, drive trains, suspension and body design (over 100 years of development) aren't particularly relevant.

"And because of this, new EV companies (which aren't traditional car makers) are springing up everywhere," said the report.

China understands they can leapfrog traditional car makers (of which they have basically none) to become a powerhouse in EV and are investing heavily.

First Published Date: 16 Jan 2020, 09:43 AM IST
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