Sony surprises CES 2020 with Vision-S vehicle prototype

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Electronics giant Sony provided one of the surprises of this year’s CES with the reveal of an all-electric concept sedan. The AWD Vision-S is roughly the size of a Tesla Model S and built on a ‘skateboard’ chassis that could also underpin an SUV or MPV.

Sony has not announced whether the Vision-S will go into production, saying only that it is a prototype vehicle that showcases its efforts in the area of mobility, such as pursuing safety, reliability, comfort and entertainment. Vision-S incorporates the company’s imaging and sensing technologies, as well as onboard software that is regulated using Sony’s AI, telecommunication and cloud technologies.

A total of 33 automotive grade sensors, including Sony CMOS image sensors, ToF sensors and solid-state lidar, are embedded within the vehicle, in order to detect and recognize people and objects inside and outside the car. The goal is to provide a “safety cocoon” and “highly advanced” driving support.

The network of sensors throughout the car enables 360° recognition of traffic conditions. The sensors underpin ADAS functions such as advanced cruise control, self-parking and auto-lane change, that correspond to Level 2+ driver assistance. Software updates enable continual performance upgrades, with the aim of ultimately achieving Level 4 or higher self-driving in the future.

Another notable feature of the Vision-S is the deployment of camera and sensor-based smart mirrors, which can be configured to three large displays in the cabin. If there is glare from the headlights of cars behind, HDR and other signal processing technology enables the brightness to be adjusted. Sony says it aims to leverage its array of sensing technologies to realize this next-generation safety system, providing smart mirrors that offer greater visibility and intelligence than conventional mirrors.

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