A big surprise at CES 2020 was the Sony Vision-S a showcase car provinng once and for all that CES has officially turned into a car show. Sony was looking to demonstrate the way its sensors and other technology can be turned to automotive applications. Beyond the fact that this is a fantastic marketing move there are some deeper more interesting reasons why we should take a look at the Vision-S.
Many people might not know that Sony makes sensors for cars. Sony is hoping automakers and Tier 1 suppliers will decide to buy from. Sony sensors are already on the road in a number of vehicles, but as advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The Vision S gives them the opportunity to cherry pick from other divisions to show off Sony’s connected car prowess.
In car audio is also a huge market, Harman is a leader in connected car technology and in car audio is a big market. Harmon-Kardon speakers often appear in high-end luxury vehicles and Sony is clearly looking to get a piece of that pie. Before you think car audio is just about playing Drake for 10 in a row, the acoustics in a car can help to mitigate car sickness.
Probably one of the more interesting points of all of this, is that this is a Magna co-developed concept car. It is a brilliant piece of marketing, Tier 1 suppliers are not a main stream piece of news and the Vision S is the biggest surprise of CES 2020.
It’s worth noting that Magna announced last year it was working on a new electric motor design that would be half the cost of existing motors, but with eight times the power density. If Sony keeps going, this Magna marketing ploy will be the most brilliant play a Tier 1 has ever made.
What did Sony pack into the Vision-S
Vision-S has a full 33 sensors installed, monitoring both the inside and the outside of the vehicle. Some are used for safety features, like obstacle and pedestrian avoidance avoidance, while others will integrate with the infotainment system. There’s 360-degree Reality Audio, for example, taking advantage of the closed cabin to surround passengers with sound. Screens galore, too: a full-width display for the dashboard, and then a second panel in the center console, plus a further two touchscreens for the rear seat passengers.
What do you think? Brilliant marketing, or does it make sense that Sony made this announcement?