CES 2022: Sony launches mobility company to bring vehicles to market

10 January 2022

Technology and entertainment company Sony is soon to add another branch to its business, launching a mobility division in spring 2022.

Sony announced its plans at CES 2022 as part of its annual presentation and piqued interest by revealing it will look at ways of bringing its prototype Vision-S models to market. This is a departure from the announcement of its first concept vehicle in 2020, when the company stated its vehicle was built purely to showcase the abilities of in-vehicle systems.

The announcement of Sony Mobility was preceded by the revealing of a new Vision-S concept, dubbed the 02. This SUV model uses the same battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and cloud platform as the Vision-S 01, which is currently undergoing tests on public roads. The company says that by offering entertainment experiences utilising the large interior space and variations of a seven-seater, this new prototype will, together with the Vision-S 01, promote the accommodation of a large variety of lifestyles within a society where values are becoming increasingly diversified.

New entrant

‘The human need for mobility will continue, and there is the opportunity for people to be both transported safely and be entertained,’ Kenichiro Yoshida, chairman, president, and CEO of Sony Group Corporation, told the media at CES. ‘It is really encouraging to further consider how we can bring creativity and technology to change the experience of moving from one place to another.’

Sony’s goal with its Vision-S brand has always been to highlight what it can offer the mobility market in terms of both entertainment within a vehicle and safety through its network of sensors. However, the announcement that it is exploring plans to launch vehicles directly to the market shows that it believes there is more to come from the automotive sector.

The decision to mobilise an automotive plan may also be in response to other technology businesses and their market developments. It has long been rumoured that Apple is working on a vehicle platform, possibly with LG Electronics, while Samsung is already involved through the supply of batteries to carmakers.

‘The new company will aim to make the best use of AI and robotics technologies, help realise a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society,’ Sony stated. ‘With Vision-S, which contributes to the evolution of mobility, together with the autonomous entertainment robot aibo, and the drone Airpeak, Sony will seek to continue to create new value in a variety of fields.’

Entertainment and safety

Sony is also embracing personalisation with its Vision-S concepts. The vehicle will include a new function that allows users to customise the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle. This is similar to BMW’s plans for its future vehicles. Key locks and user settings can be synchronised in the Vision-S by linking the vehicle to the cloud using mobile communication, including 5G.

Integrating Sony’s suite of sensors allows the concept vehicles to recognise and analyse the surrounding environment in real-time, with these sensors installed all around the car giving a 360-degree field of vision. These sensors include high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide dynamic range CMOS image sensors and LiDAR sensors that accurately sense three-dimensional space. In addition, the system provides intuitive driver interaction in conjunction with the vehicle’s sound system and interfaces, so that the driver can accurately judge the status of the surrounding environment

Sony aims to provide greater safety and comfort to all through its sensor and communication technologies and is currently conducting functional verification tests in Europe toward the release of Level 2+ advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) on public roads.