Sony is to set up a mobility subsidiary in the next few months to explore its entry into the electric car market.
This follows the development of the Vision-S electric car platform using its camera sensor, cellular communication and audio entertainment and software technologies combined with technology from AImotive, Continental and ZF launched at the show last year as a prototype coupe. This has tested 5G communication on public roads in Germany and Japan over the last year.
This year’s show saw an SUV version based on the same platform and is currently conducting functional verification tests in Europe toward the release of Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that can be used on public roads.
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.
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. The vehicle will also include a new function that allows users to customize the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle.
It is also using its in-house technologies and knowledge of communication technology and security from the development of smartphones for remote operation as an important technology for autonomous driving and plans to offer these to the wider market.
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The company points to vehicle settings, key locks, and user settings that can be synchronized by linking the vehicle to the cloud using mobile communication, including 5G communication, with over the air (OTA) updates to provide security and evolve service functions and value-added offerings.
“In order to further accelerate and make new proposals that further evolve the mobility experience, Sony will establish an operating company [called] Sony Mobility Inc in the spring of 2022, through which the company intends to explore entry into the EV market,” it said. “The new company will aim to make the best use of AI and robotics technologies.” This will operate alongside the Aibo robotics company and Airpeak drone company.
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