Sony surprises with prototypes of an electric car

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Technology fair CES in Las Vegas

The prototype called Vision-S should demonstrate the possibilities that were available in the technical developments from Sony, CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said at the presentation.

(Photo: AFP)

Las Vegas The electronics giant Sony surprisingly goes to the carmaker. The Japanese company presented the prototype of an electric car at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas, but remained silent on production plans. The Japanese carmaker announced shortly before Toyota the construction of its own small test tube city for testing future technology such as robot cars – and the Korean competitor Hyundai presented the prototype of an air taxi.

Sony’s concept car remained the biggest surprise at the CES launch. The prototype called Vision-S should demonstrate the possibilities that the technical developments from Sony have, said CEO Kenichiro Yoshida on Monday (local time). This includes software, sensors and security technology as well as a complete entertainment system. “This prototype embodies our contribution to the future of mobility,” said Yoshida.

According to him, Sony developed the car together with a whole range of partners – above all Magna Steyr from Austria, but also the three major German suppliers Bosch. Continental and ZF. The specially developed electrical platform is suitable for driving other types of vehicles such as SUVs. Among other things, Sony itself is strong in camera sensors, which are used in many smartphones, for example. In the interior of the Vision-S there is a long display that almost reaches from door to door.

Experts had long expected that with the advance of electric vehicles, electronics companies would also enter the auto business. But that was all from Apple expected – but the iPhone group trimmed its year-long development program and is currently concentrating on robot car technology.

Despite the Sony bang, the most ambitious announcement of the CES launch was Toyota’s plan to build an experimental city of the future to increasingly test technologies such as autonomous driving in real environments. For this purpose, the site of a decommissioned factory of the car manufacturer near Mount Fuji is to be rebuilt, as company boss Akio Toyoda announced. Around 2,000 people were to live in the compact “Woven City” – including Toyota employees with their families, retirees and researchers. The laying of the foundation stone is planned for next year.

At the start of CES, it also became clear how plans for the robot car future are taking on an increasingly concrete form. This is also evident from the fact that new players are entering the industry. So the chip company announced Qualcomm the entry into the business with computers for automated driving and robotaxis. The first vehicles with Qualcomm systems are scheduled to hit the streets in 2023. The Chinese drone specialist DJI wants to stir up the market for laser radars with which robot cars scan their surroundings with devices that are significantly cheaper than before.

More: The tech industry has lost its luster. At CES in Las Vegas, corporations have to explain how they want to improve the lives of their users.

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