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Sony to test self-driving cars

By Philip Smith

Move is seen as way for Japanese firm to become major supplier of sensors to motor manufacturers

Sony is to start testing a self-drive car this year.

The surprise move, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), will allow the Japanese giant to beef up the company’s sensing and safety technologies, it said.

While Sony dominates the market for smartphone image sensors it has been playing to catch up in sensors for automotive applications.

This move is seen as a major boost in that direction as it aims to become a top supplier of lidars and image sensors to carmakers. Reports say it is already in talks with Tesla. There are no plans, said the company, to produce a Sony car.

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade,” Sony chief executive Kenichiro Yoshida said at the CES. “I believe the next megatrend will be mobility.”

The Sony Vision S prototype features always-on connectivity and 33 sensors inside and outside including image sensors plus solid-state light detection and ranging (Lidar) sensors. There will also be a panoramic screen on the dashboard for entertainment.

The car, developed with the help of Blackberry, Bosch, Continental, Magna, Nvidia and Qualcomm, also incorporates Sony’s in-car entertainment systems with spatial audio technology.

FURTHER READING: Bosch boosts self-driving car development

FURTHER READING: Autonomous Driving Firm Luminar Unveils Cheap LIDAR Sensor

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