The tech giant has been continually developing it since last year.
At last year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony dropped the mic with the phenomenal Vision-S concept. No one expected the maker of phones, TVs, and cameras to unveil an electric car, and certainly, no one expected it to look that good. But midway through 2020, the Japanese electronics giant gave us hope that the Vision-S would be something more than an electronic showcase and that it could head to production. If it did, it could prove to be a viable rival to the Tesla Model S and its archnemesis, the Lucid Air. For the 2021 CES - an all-digital affair given the current global pandemic - Sony has released new details about the Vision-S, including footage of the prototype in action, naturally filmed using Sony drones.
Over the past year, Sony and its partners on the project, namely Magna Steyr - the same company that produces the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Toyota GR Supra - have been hard at work on the concept. In a nine-minute video released by the company, Frank Stein, president of Magna Steyr, hints at Sony's partnership with the company continuing beyond just the Vision S.
More than that, in the video and additional information provided by Sony, the Vision-S has been made even better than when it debuted. There are now 40 sensors on the car that provide 360-degree situational awareness. This is with the goal of full autonomy - when it debuted, Level 2 autonomy was in the cards, but Sony has aims for more autonomous capabilities, with Level 4 a firm possibility.
One of Sony's most groundbreaking elements of the concept initially was the full-width touchscreen dashboard display. From the new footage, we can see this has been further refined, with a number of new features like voice assistance, gesture control, wireless updates, 5G connectivity, video games, and an advanced driver monitor that utilizes a camera capable of identifying and recognizing the driver's condition. From there, the system will automatically adjust the climate control and even seat temperature to optimize conditions for the driver.
As for the action shots, the concept's design hasn't changed since we first saw it, so the shots of the Vision-S on the road in Europe merely serve to show it is a fully-functioning prototype. Sony hasn't divulged if the specifications have changed, but when it first debuted, the Vision-S had two electric motors generating a combined 536 horsepower. 0-62 mph takes a claimed 4.8 seconds, while top speed is limited to 149 mph.