Currently reading: Sony Vision-S concept car begins testing on public roads
Tech giant's advanced electric saloon showcases technology that could appear in production cars

A year after its shock unveiling at the CES technology exhibition, tech giant Sony's Vision-S concept car has hit public roads for the first time in prototype form. 

A new video released by the electronics manufacturer shows a prototype wearing numberplates and a camouflage-style wrap being tested by engineers in Austria. It provides a glimpse of the advanced automotive technology Sony is developing. 

The Vision-S was developed as a means for Sony to showcase its autonomous driving and in-car entertainment systems, and there remains no indication that the firm could put it into series production. At its unveiling, Sony boss Kenichiro Yoshida said it “embodies our contribution to the future of mobility.”

It features a raft of technology that showcases "the contribution Sony intends to make to realise a highly advanced autonomous driving society”.

Visible in the new footage is a fully functioning infotainment display that spans the width of the dashboard, with the central display showing a detailed digital rendering of the car's surroundings while it's in motion. Separate tabs giving access to a suite of cameras, a music player and various other interfaces can also be seen. 

Sony vision s roadtest29

While it's unclear if Sony has any plans to make its own cars or simply intends to develop technology to sell to existing manufacturers, Yoshida said: “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade. I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility.”

Few technical details of the concept, which is understood to have been developed and built with the help of partners including Magna Steyr, Bosch, Nvidia and others, have been made public, but Sony says that it's powered by a pair of 268bhp electric motors. These give it a 0-62mph time of 4.8sec and a top speed of 149mph.

The key goal of the Vision-S is to showcase Sony’s automotive-relevant technology. It has 33 sensors of varying types embedded within it, which can identify people and objects both inside and outside the car as part of a ‘safety cocoon’.

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They include CMOS image sensors, which Sony claims offer high-definition and high dynamic range while supressing LED flicker, plus solid-state lidar.

Inside, the Vision-S features a number of time-of-flight (ToF) in-car sensors that can detect and recognise people within to optimise the infotainment and comfort systems.

The concept also features artificial intelligence, telecommunication and cloud technology, all accessed via a large panoramic touchscreen that dominates the dashboard and, Sony says, is operated via an “intuitive user interface”.

Sony isn't the first tech firm to show interest in the automotive world. Apple is in talks with Hyundai and others about building its long-awaited electric car, while Samsung has an automotive division that's working on advanced autonomous systems.


CES 2020: all the news from the tech event

How Samsung plans to develop world-leading autonomous tech

Hyundai in talks with Apple for electric car partnership​

James Attwood

James Attwood, digital editor
Title: Acting magazine editor

James is Autocar's acting magazine editor. Having served in that role since June 2023, he is in charge of the day-to-day running of the world's oldest car magazine, and regularly interviews some of the biggest names in the industry to secure news and features, such as his world exclusive look into production of Volkswagen currywurst. Really.

Before first joining Autocar in 2017, James spent more than a decade in motorsport journalist, working on Autosport,, F1 Racing and Motorsport News, covering everything from club rallying to top-level international events. He also spent 18 months running Move Electric, Haymarket's e-mobility title, where he developed knowledge of the e-bike and e-scooter markets. 

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clbmw 7 January 2020

If it's anything like their

If it's anything like their TVs it'll take 10 minutes to switch on and hang when you want to change radio channels... let's hope it's more like the PS4

FRI2 7 January 2020

Another concept that will

Another concept that will look nothing like the actual production model that will come out in.....2030. And it will be a "Tesla Killer"....

fleabane 7 January 2020

Sadly, it’s just a showcase

Very smart, though it appears to have less legroom in the back than a 911. For the record, Sony didn't invent the Lithium Cell.