As the automotive world continues to brace itself for new technologies, there is great anticipation that the hood badges of tomorrow’s vehicles may be shared with your computer, online shopping site, even your vacuum cleaner. Is this what Sony is up to?
According to the company, it is looking to fully understand the mechanism of cars, to not only comprehend how they are made and the challenges they present, but also their relevance to society.
Enter the VISION-S Prototype
The VISION-S Prototype is driveable and gives full consideration to safety. The car represents a fusion of Sony’s technology and creativity. It is, says Sony, a glimpse into the future of mobility, encompassing the evolution of safety, comfort, entertainment and adaptability.
“The VISION-S Prototype – riding in it feels extremely secure. Just sitting in it evokes excitement. Being with it affords a timeless relationship. It is a car that will evolve mobility into an enriching experience.”— Sony
What follows is some of Sony’s vision behind VISION-S:
There are a total of 33 automotive grade sensors (including Sony CMOS sensors) installed both inside and outside the car. While keeping a watchful eye 360 degrees around the body, safety is also thoroughly monitored when the car is in motion. The cocoon-like layout also underlies the “Oval” design theme.
The network of sensors throughout the car enables 360-degree recognition of traffic conditions. The sensors provide precise driving assistance, such as advanced cruise control, self-parking and auto-lane change functions, that corresponds to Level 2+ driver assistance. Software updates allow for continual performance upgrades, with the aim of ultimately achieving Level 4 or higher self-driving in the future.
Advanced camera monitoring system
Conventional automotive mirrors have advanced to a new level of performance through sensing and visual technology. Camera sensors will capture approaching vehicles and pedestrians and send an alert even before they can be detected by the human eye. The three large displays in the cabin can be appropriately aligned according to the driver’s preference or urgency.
Inside the cabin, sensors will monitor the condition of drivers and passengers. The facial expression and body movement of drivers will be used to gauge their concentration and fatigue levels, sending out alerts as necessary.
On-board: a world of excitement
With the spread of 5G and advancement of self-driving technology, people will eventually be relieved from car operations. The car cabin will evolve into a comfortable environment, like the space inside a living room.
When that time comes, what should the experience of being transported in
a car offer? Sony wants to create a mobile entertainment space with a field of sound that encapsulates the entire body, a luxurious visual world of moving images, and intuitive user interfaces – all packed within the cabin. The future that awaits us may be a new type of mobility in which people climb on board their cars to enjoy their free time.
In this age in which all products and data are interconnected, cars have also become a part of that network. The built-in software continually evolves via the Internet. The overall hardware of the car, as part of this, will continue to develop. It will evolve from a conventional group of independent systems that have predetermined functions, to an advanced integrated and linked system that has the potential to grow. Sony has its eyes set on realizing the continual evolution of cars via networks, and the creation of a car society in which each owner possesses a single vehicle for a long time, and minimizes their environmental impact.
A car’s system will be repeatedly updated over time. Cloud artificial intelligence will interact and learn as part of the sensing system, enabling it to become even more highly intelligent and functional. The longer a person continues to use a car, the more the car will evolve, resulting in richer experiences and generating new appeal.
A long wheelbase brought about by a compact and highly flexible powertrain layout, which is distinctive of pure EVs, and the development of ultrathin battery packs will provide a best-in-class cabin environment.
The newly designed EV platform enables its application for various uses and car types, not just coupes but also sedans, SUVs and MPVs.
The car is designed with the goal of acquiring top scores in automobile safety tests around the world. The aim is to offer a rich and safe mobility experience by combining advanced active safety offered by sensors, and passive safety.
Adopting a next-generation architecture, the E/E system is designed to support constant monitoring through connectivity that is enabled by a 5G network and over-the-air (OTA) system updates.
The way technology on the electric vehicles are going, I am not surprised that we are seeing a company like Sony getting into the market. If the current OEMs don’t begin to look for ways to adapt and remain current, we may soon be talking about them in the same way we talk about Oldsmobile and Mercury.