Almost 12 months ago to the day at CES, Sony made a surprise unveiling of a concept car. Yes, a Sony car. With testing now underway, it’s more than just a concept wheeled out to make some noise a trade show.
According to recent reports, Sony is now testing its S-Vision concept car on public roads. At Sony’s CES 2021 keynote the company said it began testing last month, by taking the car on a trip through Austria.
The video doesn’t give too much away, however, it’s clear that the car features a host of modern features, as there are visible sensors on the front and rear bumpers. The Vision-S also has rear facing cameras instead of wing mirrors, kind of like the Honda-E.
When the concept was announced, Sony said the car would have 33 sensors, including CMOS, ToF (Time of Flight), and LiDAR. All of these would work together to support a host of Level 2 driver aids. That number has been bumped to 40, Electrek reports, but it’s not clear what those extra sensors will be used for or why they’ve been added.
The car was also said to include a software first design, and “immersive audio experience,” we’d expect nothing less from Sony though.
When it comes to the drivetrain, Sony said the Vision-S would feature two motors, delivering over 560 hp capable of pushing the car to 60 mph in under 5 seconds.
Unfortunately, for now, those are still the only stats that Sony has revealed.
Other important information such as how much it might cost, how big is its battery, how long will it take to charge, and when it will be released, haven’t been answered.
However, one of Sony’s partners that’s working on the vehicle, did say they have a “feeling all involved parties want to bring this vehicle to the streets as soon as possible.”
Even though the Vision-S in the video is a camouflaged prototype, it does appear to be quite far along development-wise, certainly from the outside at least. Prototypes typically have lots of body work coverings, and temporary fittings for testing purposes, but the Vision-S is clean, and looks like the finished package.
Indeed, going from concept to public road testing in a year is a swift turnaround, and is a big step towards making the car a reality. We can only assume that the car was already quite well-developed when it was unveiled in 2020.
Take that with a grain of salt, though. Building a one-off prototype is a very different kettle of fish to scaling it to be mass-produced. Just ask Elon Musk.
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