PanARMENIAN.Net - Sony is testing the electric car it unveiled at CES this past January in public in Austria, CNet reports.
The Japanese Company took CES completely by surprise in January when it debuted a fully baked concept car. Built to showcase and test Vision-S, Sony's new connected car platform, the electric car is a prototype and isn't necessarily supposed to indicate that Sony plans to sell its own cars, at least not anytime soon, but that's not stopping Sony from testing the thing in Austria.
The car was built by Sony's AI and robotics team, the same crew that makes the company's cute robotic dog Aibo. The concept doesn't even have a name yet (its code name was Safety Cocoon), although the Japanese company says it has been fully road-tested. According to Sony, this is to ensure the vehicle and its platform Vision-S will comply with applicable safety regulations.
Sony is working with Magna-Steyr - a company known for doing extensive development and production work for other automotive manufacturers - to ensure that it's ready to hit the road in Europe. Sony published a video of the car, back in Graz, Austria, after CES, being driven by a human, so it's unclear if the further testing Sony is undergoing is to validate the autonomous car technology that was publicized in Vegas.
Vision-S, which was described briefly on stage during the press conference in Las Vegas, takes advantage of Sony's expertise in sensors, imaging and entertainment to be used in the next generation of electric vehicles. Sony already supplies these technologies to Japanese automakers but wants to make its individual products into systems that can be supplied as an all-in-one solution.
No word yet on what powers the Vision-S, or if it shares a chassis or anything else with other vehicles. Currently, the prototype features 33 sensors placed around the car, which can detect people and other vehicles both inside and outside the car to provide driving support. It also incorporates Sony's 360 Reality Audio to provide an immersive audio experience, with speakers built into each of the car's seats. A panoramic screen faces the front seat to display a diverse array of content accessed through an intuitive user interface.