Shocking Sony Car Slash with 4 Keywords January 13th 19:55

"We will consider launching Sony's EVs on the market."



Sony made a surprise announcement on January 4, shortly after the beginning of the year.


Entertainment such as Walkman, dog-shaped robot aibo, PlayStation, and more recently "Kimetsu no Yaiba".

Sony has created a new sensation in various markets.


What kind of car does a prestigious company with high brand power make?

Read from the top interview for a limited time of 10 minutes.

(Kenta Shimai, Reporter, Ministry of Economic Affairs)

on second thoughts!

!!

SONY

"Announce something about EV"-.



There were rumors and impressions like this.


The world's largest technology trade fair "CES" was held from January 5th for 3 days.


IT, electric appliances, automobiles ... Surprise that surprises the people concerned by showing off new businesses and new products every year by world-famous companies has become an annual event for the industry at the beginning of the year.



Sony's presentation was the day before the opening.


Immediately after the prototype SUV = multipurpose sports car type EV slipped onto the stage, President Kenichiro Yoshida made a surprising statement.

"This spring, we will establish a new company, Sony Mobility Inc., and consider launching EVs in the market."



What is surprising?



In fact, this is not the first time that Sony has developed an EV.


In 2020, we have already released a prototype car named "VISION-S".

However, the purpose of EV development is "to improve the technology of sensors for cars".


He repeatedly explained that he did not plan to sell the car itself.



Last year, the state of VISION-S running on a public road in Austria was also released.


At this time as well, he explained that it was a driving experiment to develop a sensor, and exquisitely evaded the media that was colored as "Would you like to finally enter the automobile market?"



And this announcement.


It seems that many people in the automobile industry think that it was the case, but the declaration of entry was a big impact as the spread of EVs accelerated in the world.

Four keywords revealed by President Yoshida

By the way, what kind of car is the EV developed by Sony?


Except for the presentation by President Yoshida and the prototype cars that were released = "VISION-S" and "VISION-S02", there is little information, and much of it remains wrapped in a veil.

However, President Yoshida responded to interviews with NHK and others after the announcement.


The time is about 10 minutes.



Although it was an interview for a limited time, keywords that I was interested in came out one after another.

1. Utilize the strengths of sensors


2. Turn moving space into entertainment space


3. Evolving cars


4. Collaborate with partners

I would like to use these as clues to explore the appearance of SONY cars.

1. Own strength Sensor installed in the car

The first thing President Yoshida mentioned was the "sensor."

President Yoshida


"We have been designing, developing, and manufacturing semiconductors called CMOS image sensors in-house for many years, so we want to make the most of our strengths and make a wide contribution in that area."

Sony, which handles image sensors used in smartphones = CMOS image sensors.

It has nearly half of the world market share and is highly competitive.



In fact, we have accumulated achievements not only in smartphones but also in car sensors.



For example, Toyota Corolla.


Sony's sensor is used for the function to automatically apply the brake when a danger is detected.

The prototype car that was unveiled this time is equipped with as many as 40 such sensors.


The number of prototype cars a year ago was about 30, so the number is increasing.

For example, the high-sensitivity sensor mounted on the monitor part, which is the side mirror, detects the surroundings even in the dark or heavy rain and displays it on the display next to the driver's seat.



In addition, there is a technology that the sensor detects obstacles that are hundreds of meters away and cannot be seen, and notifies the danger.



Safety Cocoon (Safe Cocoon)


This is Sony's idea in the development of EVs.


Sensors are laid out with the image of protecting the car with a cocoon, notifying the driver of danger, and assisting the driving operation with software technology.



Attention is focused on safety with the field of specialty as a weapon.

2. Turn the inside of the car into an entertainment space

By the way, what kind of image do you have of a company called Sony?

Walkman, home appliances such as flat-screen TVs, audio equipment, cameras, dog-shaped robot aibo, play stations, planning and production of anime movies based on the popular manga "Kimetsu no Blade".



Although there were times when the electronics field was overwhelmed by Chinese and South Koreans in TVs and PCs, innovative products and ideas have brought a new twist to the market.



There is a place where Sony is trying to "totally mobilize" the power of the group in EV development.

President Yoshida


"I realized that people are looking for entertainment because of the corona, and I think I can say one more thing, I strongly want to realize that we employees also deliver entertainment to people all over the world. Ultimately, I want to turn the mobility space into an entertainment space. "

Yes, it's the space inside the car.

The display in front of the driver's seat and passenger seat gives a glimpse of one end.



Display arranged in an orderly manner from the left end to the right end.


The part called the console between the driver's seat and the passenger seat, and the back seat also have a display about the size of a tablet terminal.



At the recital, the image of the movie "Spider-Man" planned and produced by Sony was projected on this display.



What kind of space will be created by using communication technology, AI technology, robot technology, and "addition" and "multiplication" of audio technology and content such as anime movies?



Details have not been clarified, but it may be an area where Sony's uniqueness is most likely to be demonstrated, which is a bit different from the way automobile manufacturers make it.

3. Evolved with updates even after selling

The third is how to sell a car.


There seems to be a feature here as well.

President Yoshida


"I think that the premise of an environmentally friendly car is that one is an EV and the other is an" evolving car. "It is required to be an evolving car rather than a replacement. We have been working on communication and network technology, and I think we can make use of it. "

President Yoshida referred to the dog-shaped robot "aibo".



Aibo went on sale in 1999.


It will be discontinued seven years later, but it was revived in 2018.

The built-in AI learns gestures while reading the user's facial expressions, and is constantly updating the network connection function.



President Yoshida says he is thinking of applying the functions of this update to EVs.



From the user's point of view, even after purchasing the car, the safety functions using the sensors introduced so far and the services related to the interior space of the car will be updated steadily.


In other words, even if you use it for a long time, the function will continue to "evolve" like a smartphone.



From the manufacturer's point of view, if you pay for the update, you can continue to earn profits even after you sell your car.


It's not sold out.

Such a mechanism is called "recurring type", and Toyota Motor has started the update service on some models.



Various factors such as design and fuel efficiency are the decisive factors in choosing a car, but recent cars have become more sophisticated as represented by driver assistance systems, and software has become the key to performance.



Automakers are also investing a lot of resources in software development.



Sony's aibo provided more than a dozen updates (including linked smartphone apps) in the last year alone.



So how are you trying to evolve your car after you sell it?

4. Car making with partner companies

How does the automobile industry see Sony's EV?

On the day of the announcement, Honda President Toshihiro Mibe responded to the interview with NHK.

President


Mibe of Honda "I think that it will lead to the revitalization of the automobile industry in total. For me, of course, I see it as a welcome thing."

An official from another manufacturer said, "Although the competitive environment will become even more severe, we welcome it in a broad sense because it will lead to the revitalization of the automobile industry by the introduction of new knowledge."

On top of that, what the people in the automobile industry are keeping an eye on is "where to work with".



The basic control of a car, such as "running, turning, and stopping," has the advantage of an automobile manufacturer that has refined its technology for many years.


It is considered more realistic to work with somewhere to make a car itself, because if a car causes an accident, it will directly lead to human life.



President Yoshida also stated the following about how to proceed with the business in the future.

Sony President Yoshida


"We are not a consistent automobile manufacturer, so I think we will work with various partners."

Also, an official of one manufacturer said, "Some manufacturers may already be talking under the surface. It would be a little shocking to work with other manufacturers first."



Where is the partnership with Sony?



The search for automobile manufacturers is likely to become more active.

The culmination of the Sony Group

Sony was born as a small factory that repairs radios in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.

It's been about half a century since then.

There are six major businesses that we are currently engaged in.



Electronics, semiconductors, games, music, movies, finance (insurance)



If you look at this, you can see that all of the businesses that look disjointed are related to automobiles.



In the field of insurance as well, Sony is deepening its relationship with automobiles, such as starting a service that scores driving safety with AI and returns insurance premiums according to the score, and for Sony, the field where the entire group's strength can be concentrated is automobile. It may be.



Next-generation technologies such as autonomous driving systems are being developed one after another, and it is said that the automobile industry is entering a period of change once every 100 years.

We are also entering from different industries such as Google in the United States, Alibaba in China, Didi (Didi), a major vehicle dispatcher, and Hon Hai Precision Industry in Taiwan.

When, in what market, and at what price will Sony sell cars with what functions?


And which company to choose as a partner?



I would like to continue to pursue the challenges of prestigious companies with high brand power and changes in the EV industry.

Reporter of the Ministry of Economic Affairs


Kenta Shimai


Joined in 2012


After working at the Miyazaki and Morioka stations, he is currently affiliated.

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