Joining the ranks of companies like Toyota, Honda, Volvo, Volkswagen, and many more, Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled its hitherto secret Project Vector, a self-driving pod that aims to usher the company into the future of mobility and achieve its goal of reaching Destination Zero. What is Destination Zero, you ask? “Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission is an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion – through its products, services and across its facilities”, says the JLR team behind Project Vector.
The Vector is a boxy, multi-use electric pod with self-driving capabilities. Developed at the Warwick University’s National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), CEO of Jaguar Land Rover, Sir Ralf Speth revealed that the project’s been in development for several years, and is all set for on-road trials in Coventry next year.
The Project Vector pod offers autonomous driving as an option, rather than be fully self-driving. This means the pod still comes with a traditional driver’s seat and steering wheel, but it offers internal flexibility, allowing the front seats to rotate 180° and face inwards, creating a more social environment. This allows the Vector to be used in a variety of formats with multiple seating configurations, for private, shared, or even commercial use. The compact vehicle measures a mere 4 meters in length and comes with an all-new “skateboard” platform that houses all the electronics and mechanics in a pallette right below the car. This frees the upper half of the car up, allowing for a much more spacious interior, with large, panoramic glass panels on the front and back, and french-window-style all-glass sliding doors on either side that allow you to embark and disembark with ease.
This isn’t JLR’s first project in the autonomous sector. The company revealed a quirky conceptual pod with ‘virtual eyes’ that could help communicate the car’s intent with pedestrians and nearby drivers!
Designers: Jaguar Land Rover & Warwick University’s National Automotive Innovation Centre
If you were previously wondering what carmaker logo that was… Sony stunned everyone today by announcing a concept electric vehicle! Sony’s definitely had a history of launching absolutely weird products from dancing egg-shaped speakers to robotic dogs… and at first glance, its concept sedan, the Vision S would seem like the perfect product to make it to that list, but the more and more I think about it, the more it makes sense. No, Sony isn’t entering the rapidly saturating EV market. The clue to why Sony announced a car at CES 2020, however, lies in its name – Vision S.
The Vision S is Sony’s vision for cars of the future. The company, for long, has developed some spectacular physical and digital products, and the concept car just ties them all together into a cohesive bunch. The Vision S comes with a total of 33 sensors that power its self-driving tech. Sony’s imaging sensors are usually categorized as some of the best in the industry, finding their way into high-end cameras and consumer smartphones. Not to forget the leaps and bounds Sony’s made with the PlayStation Move controllers and the motion-sensing PS4 camera. All these have culminated into the 33 sensors that find themselves inside the Vision S which are used to detect + monitor the presence of people and objects both inside and outside the automobile.
The electric car comes with autonomous driving capabilities thanks to its use of Solid State LiDAR, and features camera-enabled rear-view imaging, rather than traditional mirrors. Vision S comes with a panoramic glass sun-roof, and an illuminating logo light-strip on the front as well as the back. On the inside, it’s all about the experience. A wide, cascading display covers the entire dashboard, allowing you to cycle through and choose car features, whether you’re the driver or you’re riding shotgun. The rear seats come fully equipped with entertainment units too, equipped with Sony’s 360 Reality Audio. This proves to be a rather important component of Sony’s automotive offering because with cars now driving themselves, in-car entertainment could be a potential billion-dollar industry, and Sony, with its massive movie, TV, and music businesses, could be a major player.
The Vision S won’t be launching anytime soon, or at all, hints Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida (the lack of any automotive specs confirms it too). Its purpose remains to showcase Sony’s vision and commitment towards innovation in the world of automobiles. So it definitely isn’t surprising that Sony decided to showcase a car at CES 2020. What IS surprising, however, is the fact that they managed to keep it under wraps for this long!