Sony is launching a mobility company and is considering moving into the electric vehicle (EV) market.
The Japanese tech giant made the announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
Sony chairman and president Kenichiro Yoshida said: "With our imaging and sensing, cloud, 5G and entertainment technologies combined with our contents mastery, we believe Sony is well positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility.”
At CES 2020, Sony announced Vision-S, an initiative aimed at contributing to the evolution of mobility and exhibited a prototype vehicle at its booth.
Following the 2020 show it started public road testing in Europe and started verification tests of the safety and user experience of the imaging and sensing technology installed inside and outside the vehicle, and the human-machine interface (HMI) system.
Further 5G driving tests were held in April 2021.
At CES 2022, Sony has been exhibiting an SUV-type prototype vehicle – Vision-S 02.
Yoshida says that Sony sees mobility as an "entertainment space" where passengers could choose individual entertainment options and use 5G internet connection.
Bakar Sadik Agwan, senior automotive consulting analyst at GlobalData, said: "Over the past decade, Sony Group has strengthened its position in the automotive supply chain.
"Over and above semiconductors and electronics for automotive sector, the company’s capabilities now include image sensors, AI, cloud, 5G and autonomous technology.
"The EV concept Vision-S 01, which was also codenamed ‘Safety Cocoon’ surprised viewers with the Level 2 autonomous capabilities of the vehicle and ‘Time-of-Flight’ sensors capable of detecting and recognizing people/objects.
"Top-notch technological features in its first concept resulted in positive market sentiments for Sony, regarding its capabilities to manufacture EVs.
"Sony’s mobility vision aims at developing technologies centred on safety and security, adaptability, and entertainment. The company, also a leader in the entertainment business, aims to utilise its capabilities and equip its EVs with unique entertainment experience, which at this point of time, is differentiating Sony from other automakers.
"However, it will be worthy to wait and see if the entertainment/infotainment features could create a difference for Sony in the EV market.
"Above all factors, Sony will have to face fierce competition from fast growing global automakers including Tesla, Toyota, Ford, Hyundai and GM, which are much ahead in the race."
Sony says it will establish an operating company ‘Sony Mobility Inc.’ in the spring of 2022, through which it intends to explore entry into the EV market.