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!
According to Daniel Martini and the guys at Changan, we’re going to see a pretty solid shift in the automobile world, where a better consumer car isn’t better because it has a better engine, but because it’s a better cabin on wheels. Meet Individual Autonomy by Changan, a private self-driving automobile that explores how people occupy themselves while driven by an autonomous car, as well as the relationship between user and private vehicle.
Individual Autonomy is literally a self-transporting bubble on wheels. With an organic blinds-system that allows you to turn the glass cabin into a transparent bubble when you want, and an enclosed space from the sides when you need, Individual Autonomy focuses on how you interact with the car, now that there is no steering wheel to control it. The interiors transform into a beautiful lounge that you can relax or work in while the car travels around completely on its own. Blinds on the side allow you to shut out the sides of the car when you’re trying to concentrate, but I’d much rather prefer they were open, because then you’re treated to a stunning panoramic view of the road you’re driving through. Now that would be something I’d enjoy!
Individual Autonomy is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2019.
Designer: Daniel Martini (Changan Automobile European Designing Center S.R.L.)