Sony reveals electric car prototype as CEO dubs mobility the next 'mega trend'

Key Points
  • The car comes under the umbrella of Sony's new Vision-S initiative, which is focused on mobility.
  • CEO says prototype embodies company's "contribution to the future of mobility."
Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida speaks after unveiling the Sony Vision-S electric concept car during a press event for CES 2020 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 6, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Japanese tech giant Sony has developed a prototype electric car, showcasing the vehicle at a press event during CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

The car comes under the umbrella of Sony's new Vision-S initiative, which is focused on mobility.

In remarks delivered just before the vehicle was unveiled on stage, Kenichiro Yoshida, the Sony Corporation's president and CEO, emphasized the importance of mobility to the company.

"It's not an exaggeration to say that mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade," he said. "I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility," he added.

"As vehicles become more connected, autonomous, shared and electric in the coming years they will also bring about positive social and environmental impacts."

According to Sony, imaging and sensing technologies have been incorporated into the car, which is in itself "intended to illustrate" the company's "future concepts in the area of mobility."

No further details on a potential release date or price have been provided, and given that a large number of concept vehicles do not come to market, whether the Vision-S ever sees the light of day remains to be seen.

Overall, 33 sensors are "embedded" within the car, enabling it to detect objects and people both inside and outside and "provide highly advanced driving support."

Two 200 kilowatt motors – located at its front and rear – power the four-seater car, which weighs 5,180 pounds, or 2,350 kilograms.

The technology used in the Vision-S will enable a range of features such as self-parking, advanced cruise control and "auto-lane change functions." In addition, sensors inside the vehicle will monitor things like driver fatigue and concentration.

After the vehicle was driven on stage, Sony's Yoshida said the prototype embodied the company's "contribution to the future of mobility."

Sony is the latest major firm to develop technology and ideas for autonomous vehicles. In October, the Volkswagen Group announced the creation of a subsidiary called Volkswagen Autonomy, with the German car giant saying it planned to "make autonomous driving market-ready."

Last September, Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the U.K.-based Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, told CNBC via email that the shift to connected and autonomous vehicles represented "the greatest change to how we travel since the invention of the car."

"But safety is the number one priority for the automotive industry and self-driving vehicles are still some way off because of the challenges involved with equipping them to handle all possible driving situations," Hawes added.