We spent all this time waiting for Apple to unveil its heavily reported (and now dead) 'Project Titan' car, and here was Sony quietly working away at one of its own: the Vision-S electric car, unveiled at this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Clearly designed to production readiness, there can be little doubt Sony loves the idea of a market debut for the Vision-S, with the concept engineered by veteran contract builder Magna Steyr. Sony's official press release does not directly confirm this detail, but CEO Kenichiro Yoshida thanked the company on stage.
Indeed, the official details centre on Sony's better-known areas of expertise: sight and sound.
Highlights of the Vision-S concept's technology include 33 sensors made up of CMOS image sensors and ToF ('Time of Flight', for distance measurement) sensors – clearly for some level of autonomous driving, like all futuristic cars – and a suite of '360 Reality Audio' speakers.
The cabin is perhaps the best place to see Sony's more familiar stock-in-trade, with large panoramic displays stretching across the dashboard, ready – no doubt – to show the latest Spider-Man film and whatever else Sony Pictures has the exclusive licence for.
A pair of headrest-mounted widescreen displays dominate the view of rear passengers, ensuring they need never see a moment of the world around them.
On the outside, there is little in the way of true design innovation or trendy low-set proportions, with hints of the Lucid Air and a little bit of Pininfarina's Battista front-end to the otherwise handsome if unremarkable look.
Today, Yoshida would say only that Sony developed the Vision-S to "deepen [its] understanding of cars".
Not a bad showcase, and no better place to unveil it.
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