Sony is adding something much bigger than the PlayStation or its home entertainment system to its offerings.
On the first day of CES 2022 on January 5, the Japanese electronics giant showcased a prototype SUV and announced its plans to launch Sony Mobility Inc. — its own automotive company.
The subsidiary is scheduled to launch between March to May this year, according to Sony Group CEO Kenichiro Yoshida.
“This Spring, we are establishing a new company, Sony Mobility Inc., to accelerate these efforts. And we are exploring a commercial launch of Sony’s EV,” Yoshida said during his keynote speech at the event.
While manufacturing video game consoles or TVs is a far cry from building a four-wheel vehicle — and a battery-operated at that — the company notes that its existing home entertainment technologies and camera sensors would greatly contribute to the evolution of mobility.
“With our imaging and sensing, cloud, 5G, and entertainment technologies combined with our content mastery, we believe Sony is well-positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility,” Yoshida said.
Sony first showed its intent to expand into automotive when it unveiled its first prototype EV, the Vision-S, in CES 2020. The sedan is designed to be an “entertainment space” which features Sony’s “360 mobility audio, gaming experiences, and BRAVIA Core,” Yoshida said.
It was shown off along with its new SUV version, the Vision-S 02, in this year’s preview.
The Vision-S 02, meanwhile, has a large interior that can seat seven and is revved up with advanced audio and video features from Sony’s TVs.
To ensure its users’ safety, Sony equipped the Vision-S 02 with over 40 sensors, including Sony’s CMOS image and LiDar sensors, which “accurately sense three-dimensional space.” It also comes with 5G connectivity to enable updates and remote operation.
The vehicles are currently undergoing tests in Europe, as part of Sony’s plan to release a Level 2+ driver assistance technology on public roads.