CES 2020: Sony announces electric car concept

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The Vision S concept carImage source, Sony
Image caption,
Sony did not suggest that it planned to make the car commercially available

Electronics giant Sony has surprised attendees of the CES tech show by unveiling an electric car dubbed the Vision S.

The vehicle is a prototype designed to show off the firm's sensors and in-car entertainment technologies.

The dashboard is flanked by an ultra-wide panoramic screen "for driving information and entertainment".

However, Sony did not indicate that it had any plans to sell the car to the public.

"We will accelerate our efforts to contribute to the future of mobility," said Sony's chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida as he revealed the surprise.

Bob O'Donnell, from Technalysis Research, was at the press event.

"It was quite a shock to be honest with you," he told the BBC. "It highlights how the company is reinventing itself."

Image source, Sony

Among the internal features of the car is sensing technology that can detect occupants of the vehicle and recognise them, in order to allow for gesture control of the entertainment systems.

In total, Sony has included 33 sensors in the Vision S prototype. The Japanese firm is known to have developed powerful image sensors that can be used to analyse the road in front of a vehicle.

Mr O'Donnell said that such technology could perhaps aid assisted-driving systems in future vehicles, helping judge when to apply the brakes or adjust the steering but still leaving most decisions up to the motorist.

"Assisted driving could be as useful, in fact, in some ways even more useful than autonomous driving," he added.

Avatar car

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
An unusual concept car, a tie-up between science-fiction film Avatar and Mercedes, was on show at CES

Also unveiled at CES was a concept car from Mercedes-Benz, which has teamed up with the creators of science-fiction film Avatar to develop the Vision AVTR (Advanced Vehicle Transformation).

The car has no steering wheel or engine but features movable reptilian "scales", a wooden floor, transparent doors and an "infotainment" system operated by gesture.

Avatar director James Cameron joined Mercedes-Benz chairman Ola Kallenius on stage.