The hardware manufacturer Sony enters the automotive business. A new prototype was presented at CES 2022. A mobility subsidiary is to be founded in a few months. We have summarized everything important for you here.
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More information. Sony is serious about entering the car business: The Japanese electronics giant has already presented its second electric car prototype at the CES technology fair in Las Vegas. A new mobility subsidiary will be founded in the spring, announced CEO Kenichiro Yoshida on Tuesday. She should consider a commercial launch of the vehicles. Sony had caused a big surprise in Las Vegas with the first prototype two years ago.
At that time, Yoshida still explicitly left it open whether the vehicle would ever be mass-produced. The prototype at that time is now called “Vision-S01”. The new “Vision-S02” model is a similar-looking but slightly taller compact SUV. Tesla is proceeding in a similar way with its current tandem of Model 3 and Model Y. Already in the past two years, Sony’s further development of the “Vision” prototype had indicated that it should not remain a mere demonstration project. Work was carried out with Vodafone to integrate it into super-fast 5G mobile communications. Most recently, the partners had a Sony prototype controlled from Tokyo in Aldenhoven, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Sony is the first electronics company with an official car project
The change in the auto business towards electric and networked vehicles opens the door for electronics companies. They have competencies in software and user guidance, are familiar with chips and battery technology. The question is still whether they want to cooperate with established car companies or whether they should compete with them. Tesla was a pioneer from Silicon Valley who single-handedly mixed up the auto industry. While Sony was the first electronics company to publicly unveil its own car project, there has been speculation for years about Apple’s plans to bring its own electric car onto the market. So far, we only know for sure that the iPhone company is testing technology for autonomous driving. Meanwhile, the ambitions of other electronics companies are also growing. LG also presented the vision for an autonomous vehicle in Las Vegas.
The robotaxi concept with the name LG Omnipod should, among other things, be able to be used as an entertainment capsule or mobile office. There have been similar mind games in recent years from Toyota, among others. For the near future, LG showed a vehicle cockpit with large displays. The provider of televisions and household appliances is preparing to compete with established automotive suppliers, while the car company Hyundai wants to outgrow its current core business with robots. Board chairman Euisun Chung said in Las Vegas that robot technology will bring “unrestricted mobility of things” with it. Among other things, Hyundai envisions that people could control distant robots in the real world from virtual rooms. The group bought the US company Boston Robotics, a pioneer in robots that can move on two or four legs, at the end of 2020 Prices include VAT plus shipping
Autonomous driving is the trend
The South Korean group is also banking on a future with autonomous vehicles. For example, Hyundai presented a concept for glass mobility capsules for one person at CES. They should both be on the road alone and be able to be coupled into larger vehicles. The capsules are powered by four compact engine blocks, each with one wheel. These units should also be able to move various other objects, explained Hyundai. Meanwhile, the world’s largest agricultural machinery manufacturer, John Deere, plans to bring a fully autonomous tractor onto the market this year. “This is not a vision or a demo, but a finished product,” said technology boss Jahmy Hindman in Las Vegas.
In the summer, the US company took over the start-up Bear Flag Robotics, which specializes in the automation of agricultural work. The tractor has six pairs of stereo cameras that enable all-around visibility to detect obstacles. He also constantly reviews his position in relation to a predetermined area of operation. In order to use the tractor, farmers only have to bring it to the field and configure it, according to the company. Then they can devote themselves to other tasks. The machine can also be monitored remotely using a smartphone, tablet, or PC.
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