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WATCH: Sony is in the car business (update)

The car as AV platform. it was the biggest surprise of CES, based on Sony's advanced sensors and cameras. And entertainment.

UPDATE: First serious sighting since CES; car arrives in Tokyo for development. Sony is partnering with Magana Steyr on the car, and the prototype is “intended to illustrate our future concepts in the area of mobility.”

The Vision-S prototype features 33 different sensors inside and outside of the car, LIDAR, radar, multiple widescreen displays, 360 audio, and always-on connectivity, with some pieces coming from industry players like BlackBerry and Bosch. It’s got a “newly-designed EV platform” — that Sony says will be able to power other vehicle types, like SUVs. Some tech press folks are thinking it came from automative company Magna. With a name like Vision “S” it feels a little like a Tesla S…


Sony also announced that its successful image sensor division also seems to be making investments into technologies that are adjacent to self-driving, including LIDAR and Time-of-Flight cameras. Here’s an excerpt from the company’s press release about how it describes those investments.

“CMOS image sensors which achieve high sensitivity, high definition and high dynamic range while also suppressing LED flicker*3 to deliver accurate object recognition, even in situations where conventionally detection has been difficult.

Solid State LiDAR which uses highly accurate distance measurement to gain a precise 3D grasp of real-life spaces.

Sensor fusion technology which merges the capabilities of sensors of varied attributes to enable early and accurate recognition, even in challenging conditions such as fog, backlight and night-time driving.

Time-of-Flight (ToF) in-cabin sensing solutions use distance measurement technology to detect and recognize people and objects inside the car. This information is used to provide an optimized infotainment system with intuitive interfaces such as gesture control and improve safety and comfort inside the vehicle.”

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