Sony may soon hit the roads with its electric cars

5 Jan 2022

The Vision-S SUV prototype. Image: Sony

Sony Mobility, to be established this spring, will explore the commercialisation of prototype autonomous electric cars.

Sony, the world’s largest video game maker, is making a play for the electric vehicle (EV) space with plans to set up a new company that will commercialise its prototype cars.

The Japanese electronics giant previously showed off its prototype EV, the Vision-S autonomous car, at the annual CES tech event in 2020. It has now unveiled its latest prototype, the Vision-S 02, at CES 2022, with upgrades capitalising on Sony’s expertise in the entertainment and sensor space.

The new company, Sony Mobility, will be launched this spring and will explore the commercialisation of its SUV and sedan prototype cars, which are now being tested in the roads of Europe. With the new company, it aims to use AI and robotics to create “a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis”.

Speaking ahead of CES 2022, Sony chair and president Kenichiro Yoshida told a news conference that he sees mobility as an “entertainment space” where passengers could chose individual entertainment options.

“With our imaging and sensing, cloud, 5G and entertainment technologies combined with our contents mastery, we believe Sony is well positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility,” he said.

According to TechCrunch, Yoshida said at the conference in Las Vegas that the Vision-S has been developed on “a foundation of safety, adaptability and entertainment” with safety given the highest priority. The SUV has 40 sensors installed inside and outside of the EV to monitor safety.

The company’s share price jumped by 4.2pc after the announcement was made, according to Reuters.

Traditional car makers and technology companies alike are increasingly showing interest in both electric and autonomous cars, with firms such as Ford, Audi and BMW entering the space in recent years. Tesla focuses on electric cars and autopilot technology and Apple, too, is quietly working on a self-driving car.

Last month, Japanese car giant Toyota announced that it is committing to becoming an all-electric car maker by the end of the decade, in a $70bn move.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic