CES 2022: Sony's Electric SUV Surprise
Major automakers made lots of news at CES, but Sony's prototype was a bombshell
Could your next car be a Sony? Possibly, but you’ll have to wait a bit. Even Sony doesn’t know yet.
But Sony dropped a big hint this week at CES 2022, the nation’s largest tech event, as it showed off a sleek, new prototype SUV and announced that it would be creating a new mobility division this spring. The news came as so much of a surprise to the media gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday that there was a momentary silence before they burst into applause.
The SUV prototype, dubbed the VISION-S 02, is the second electric vehicle built under Sony’s VISION-S initiative, which is “…aimed at contributing to the evolution of mobility,” according to a Sony press release.
Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO of Sony Group Corp., said that through a new operating company called Sony Mobility Inc., the company would be “…exploring a commercial launch of Sony’s EV (electric vehicle).”
“Sony Mobility Inc. will harness the potential of mobility utilizing our AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics,” said Yoshida, who made the trip to Las Vegas. “This is a bold step into the future bringing our expertise in creating diverse and innovative solutions to the world.”
The VISION-S 02 SUV features 40 sensors on the inside and outside to monitor its environment so it can make instant driver-assistance decisions. “Safety has been our number one priority in developing a comfortable mobility experience,” said Yoshida.
Of course other automakers were hardly silent at #CES2022.
BMW, which cut back on in-person attendance at CES 2022 due to Covid-19 concerns, still made waves by unveiling a new electric performance car, the BMW iX M60, via a press event streamed from Munich, Germany.
“It is the most powerful and fastest electric vehicle ever produced by the BMW Group,” said Pieter Nota, board member of BMW AG, Customer, Brands, Sales. The BMW iX M60 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph, according to the company.
Of course the fun part of a gas-powered performance car is the confident rumble of its muscular engine. So how do you get that feeling from an all-electric vehicle like the BMW iX M60, which is essentially silent? Just add a touch of curated sound.
Award-winning film score composer Hans Zimmer has crafted a selection of sounds drivers can select to enhance the driving experience and restore the aura of a performance car.
“Just by covering the silence ever so slightly by sound you’re already giving humanity to something that was basically just a piece of cold technology.” — Hans Zimmer, composer
A MyMode feature allows the driver to enhance the look and feel of his environment and quickly switch between themes.
As the CES 2022 exhibit halls opened to all attendees Wednesday, it was clear that many exhibitors that had reserved spaces cut back on personnel or opted not to fill their booths. News and social media photos revealed unoccupied spots and sparsely occupied booths with more air and open space than product tables.
But CES 2022 presses on with two more days of exhibits, presentations and press events Thursday and Friday.
©️Copyright 2022 Robert S. Anthony, Stadium Circle Features
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