Sony begins testing its electric vehicle on public roads in Austria

Cornelia Mascio
Gennaio 14, 2021

The Vision-S is highlighted in a series of new videos released by Sony, two of which show the auto driving on a private track and public roads in Austria.

The key goal of the Vision-S is to showcase Sony's automotive-relevant technology. In a video published by Sony on January 11, Frank Klein, the president of Magna Steyr, described the Vision-S as "just the starting point of our joint cooperation", reported CNBC. It also has cameras in place of exterior mirrors, which wouldn't work in the United States due to current regulations.

Now a year after its debut, tech giant Sony's Vision-S concept vehicle has hit public roads for the first time in prototype form. It has 33 sensors of varying types embedded within it, which can identify people and objects both inside and outside the vehicle as part of a "safety cocoon".

It looks pretty snazzy but Sony isn't interested in putting it into production. The drone showcased the technology conference came with a familiar quadcopter design.

The first of such developments include the sensors, which Sony says have increased in number to 40, and now allow for 360-degree awareness among other capabilities.

Sony's Airpeak drone makes its debut at CES 2021
Sony unveils first look at its new "Airpeak" drone designed to carry Alpha mirrorless cameras

As before, Sony is claiming Level 2+ semi-autonomous driving functionality with features like autonomous lane changes and park assist, as well as provision for Level 4 autonomy through software updates.

Sony has also paid attention to camera functions, an area in which the Japanese company is well-known for its expertise. It should be noted that the Vision-S was originally created as a means for Sony to showcase its autonomous driving and in-car entertainment systems, and as of yet, there is no actual indication that the company would actually put the auto into production.

Rather, it is cooperating with the well-known automotive supplier and manufacturer Magna Steyr from Austria - an approach similar to recent reports that Apple is partnering with Hyundai to benefit from the experienced automobile manufacturer's know-how to produce its first own vehicle. Since then, Sony has apparently developed the prototype further together with various partner companies.

Sony in September also released an interview with two people who worked on the Vision-S project. Doesn't sound like something a company as big as Sony would be putting out unless it was at least seriously considering building the vehicle, does it?

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