The Sony group will create a company to mass produce electric vehicles

Electronics conglomerate Sony Group Corp. announced that it would set up a subsidiary this spring with the aim of mass-producing electric vehicles, a prospect that could transform the Japanese auto industry.

He made the announcement on January 4 at the CES 2022 consumer technology show in Las Vegas, where he presented a new electric SUV prototype dubbed Vision-S 02.

The new company, which will be called Sony Mobility Inc., will be headquartered in Japan.

Sony Group unveiled its Vision-S prototype vehicle two years ago at the annual event held to showcase new products and technologies. Sony’s concept car relies on artificial intelligence for autonomous driving.

“We will use the various technologies owned by Sony to seriously consider our entry into the electric vehicle market,” Sony Group Chairman and CEO Keiichiro Yoshida told reporters in Las Vegas announcing the focus on electric vehicles.

The move could drastically change the nature of Japan’s auto industry if Sony can marshal its vast inventory of electronic technology into mass-produced vehicles.

The obvious advantage of a battery-powered car is that it leaves zero carbon footprint, which car manufacturers around the world are desperately trying to achieve.

The new SUV prototype presented at CES was equipped with about forty sensors that not only detect the environment, but also what the driver is doing.

The vehicle, which will be manufactured by an Austrian company, is equipped with next-generation mobile communication technology known as 5G.

The prototypes were developed by the same team that created the Aibo dog robot.

“Aibo and self-driving vehicles are the same from the point of view of making decisions about how to move after recognizing its surroundings,” said Izumi Kawanishi, executive vice president in charge of AI Robotics business at of the Sony group, which is in charge of this development.

The commercialization of electric vehicles will also be a boon for Sony’s semiconductor business due to the large numbers required in autonomous electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles, in the words of a Sony executive, are an area with strong synergy with semiconductors.

The traditional car production model is a vertical model in which automakers sit at the top of a pyramid supported by hundreds of small companies that produce the parts.

But with electric vehicles, this model will likely lead to a new horizontal production system in which different companies manage the manufacturing of the different parts that go into the vehicle in a more equal relationship.

(This article was written by Junichi Kamiyama and Daisuke Igarashi in Las Vegas and Yasuro Suzuki and Naoyuki Fukuda in Tokyo.)

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