Vehicles | August 13, 2020 4:15 pm

That Sony Car Is Actually Real

The Vision-S will undergo public road testing in Tokyo

Sony Vision-S concept car in a new YouTube video from Tokyo
Sony's Vision-S electric concept car in a new video.
Screenshot via Sony on YouTube

When electric cars and autonomous vehicles started to seem not only realistic but inevitable, tech companies around the world simultaneously had an epiphany: “Let’s beat car companies at their own game.”

As it turns out, building cars from scratch is hard. After spending massive chunks of change, both Apple and Dyson have canceled their automotive projects, while other companies like Amazon are deciding to stick to car-adjacent products while investing in dedicated automakers. Then there are projects like Uber’s flying car and Sony’s Vision-S: concepts that will probably never see the light of day.

But wait, what’s that? Sony’s concept car is actually real?

Back in January during the Consumer Electronics Show, the Japanese company shocked everyone by unveiling the electric Vision-S concept car at the end of its presentation on normal Sony things, like the PlayStation and 5G. But they didn’t make any promises, and the head honchos said it was more of a technology showcase than a car destined for production. Plus, if a tech company shows a car at CES, you can bet you’ll never see it on city streets.

Then, out of nowhere, Sony dropped a new video of the Vision-S in action, writing, “VISION-S Prototype has arrived in Tokyo for advancing our sensing and audio technologies. The prototype vehicle is also currently under development for public road testing this fiscal year.”

Consider our interest piqued. While this development could simply be, as they say, to test the embedded technology — like the system of 33 sensors designed to detect people and objects outside the car as well as provide driver assistance support — this is much more sophisticated than a scratch-and-dent tester. As Jalopnik noted, the Vision-S is built by Magna Steyr, the company that manufactures Jaguar I-Pace, and while not all traditional specs have been released, Car and Driver wrote that the car can go 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and tops out at 149 mph.

Why all the details and public street testing if Sony doesn’t have bigger plans for their car? We’ll be keeping an eye on this and suggest you do, too.

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