Sony Vision-S electric car begins testing on public roads in Europe

The Sony Vision-S electric car is now testing on public roads in Europe, just a year after its unveiling at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Sony confirmed this as part of its CES 2021 presentation, releasing a short video of a camouflaged prototype undergoing testing, but providing no other detail. The electronics giant views the rise of connectivity and electric powertrains as a way into the auto industry, but car manufacturing is a low-margin business, which might prove unattractive in the long run.

The prototype doesn’t appear to have changed much from last year’s show car, retaining the panoramic roof and dashboard-spanning screen (not unlike the Byton M-Byte crossover). It also has cameras in place of exterior mirrors, which wouldn’t work in the United States due to current regulations.

Sony Vision-S prototype testing

The Vision-S concept also featured 33 onboard sensors, including 12 cameras, three solid-state lidar units, and nearly 20 radar and ultrasonic sensors. That sensor array would enable driver-assist features, but cameras would also be used to recognize individual drivers and passengers, and load personalized presets, Sony said at the time.

Sony also previously discussed an all-wheel drive powertrain, using a pair of 268-horsepower electric motors. The motors could get the 5,180-pound Vision-S concept from 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds, the company said.

Automotive supplier Magna—which contract manufactures vehicles like the Jaguar I-Pace—provided engineering services for the original Vision-S concept. Magna has since unveiled a complete EV platform, which will underpin the Fisker Ocean crossover. This may be a somewhat different platform from the Vision-S concept, or perhaps an evolved version of what was used for the Sony concept.

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