At CES 2020, Sony Group Corporation (“Sony”) announced “VISION-S,” an initiative aimed at contributing to the evolution of mobility, and exhibited a prototype vehicle at its booth. To demonstrate this concept in the real world, Sony started public road testing in Europe in December of the same year, and started verification tests of the safety and user experience of the imaging and sensing technology installed inside and outside the vehicle, and the human-machine interface (HMI) system. Sony began 5G driving tests in April 2021, and will continue to apply its cutting-edge technologies to provide new experiences in the realm of mobility, which is undergoing a shift to electric vehicles (EV).
Sony plans to further develop the above efforts as it enters a new phase of VISION-S development, and announced the following at CES 2022:
Exhibiting a new SUV-type prototype vehicle that accommodates diverse values and lifestyles
VISION-S continues its aim of evolving mobility to be even closer to people, while developing technologies centered on safety and security, adaptability, and entertainment. At CES 2022, Sony announced and exhibited an SUV-type prototype vehicle (VISION-S 02) as a new form factor. This vehicle uses the same EV/cloud platform as the prototype (VISION-S 01), which is being tested on public roads. By offering entertainment experiences utilizing the large interior space and variations of a 7-seater, this new prototype will, together with VISION-S 01, promote the accommodation of a large variety of lifestyles within a society where values are becoming increasingly diversified.
VISION-S: Status of efforts in priority areas
Safety: Safe and secure mobility
The system supports safe driving by recognizing and analyzing the surrounding environment in real time, with sensors installed 360 degrees around the vehicle. 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 HMI system, so that the driver can accurately judge the status of the surrounding environment, such as the presence of emergency vehicles, even from inside the vehicle. 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.
Adaptability: Getting closer to people and growing together
Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors are used to provide monitoring functions for driver authentication and to watch over passengers. They also support intuitive gesture and voice commands that are intended to enhance usability of the car interface. Additionally, in order to deliver an environment that suits each user’s preferences, the vehicle will include a new function that allows users to customize the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle.
Vehicle settings, key locks, and user settings can be synchronized by linking the vehicle to the cloud using mobile communication, including 5G communication, which features low-latency, high-capacity, and high-speed capabilities. In addition, since updates are reflected in the vehicle via over the air (OTA), it is possible to provide security and evolve service functions and value-added offerings continuously.
Remote operation: Utilizing Sony’s in-house technologies and knowledge of communication technology and security cultivated through the development of smartphones, Sony has positioned remote operation as an important technology in anticipation of the arrival of the autonomous driving era. To achieve this, Sony conducted driving experiments connecting Japan and Germany with 5G, and is working with its partners to achieve low-latency transmission (video and control signals) and communication control (monitoring and prediction) using the telematics system installed in VISION-S 01.
Entertainment: Enriching the mobility entertainment space
The seat speakers, which create a three-dimensional sound field, and the streaming service compatible with “360 Reality Audio” provide an immersive music experience as if passengers are surrounded by the live performance of a favorite artist.
In addition, to provide a high-quality movie experience, VISION-S includes the fully integrated digital video service “BRAVIA CORE for VISION-S.” The service enables shared or individual video playback on the front panoramic screen and individual rear-seat displays.
Further extending the possibilities of in-vehicle entertainment, gaming capabilities have expanded to being able to play PlayStation® games through a remote connection to a console at home, in addition to the ability to play streaming games through the cloud.
Entering a new phase
In order to further accelerate and make new proposals that further evolve the mobility experience, Sony will establish an operating company “Sony Mobility Inc.” in the spring of 2022, through which the company intends to explore entry into the EV market.
Business objectives of the new company
The new company will aim to make the best use of AI and robotics technologies, help realize a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society. 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.