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CES 2020: Sony surprises with connected car prototype

Although it would seem hard to keep a new car prototype under wraps in Las Vegas during CES 2020, Sony Corp. managed to do it.

The company surprised show attendees and investors by revealing a prototype connected car, saying during a Jan. 6 press conference that mobility solutions will become a primary area of investment for the company.

SNL ImageSony shows off its Vision-S prototype at CES 2020
Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence

"Our sights are set on the future age of autonomous driving," Sony President and CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said during the CES 2020 press conference. CES is the annual trade show of technology and media trade group the Consumer Technology Association.

Mobility is the next technology "megatrend," he said, and Sony plans to invest heavily.

The Vision-S prototype includes sensors inside and out. Exterior sensors collect data from the environment to aid autonomy and safety, while interior sensors track where passengers are to optimize safety and infotainment quality, he said.

The announcement comes as the legacy trade show of consumer technology is increasingly dominated by mobility-solutions technologies, with chipmakers, automakers, mobile device manufacturers, and other consumer and technology companies presenting their visions for 5G-enabled solutions for autonomous driving and urban connectivity.

But Sony is still committed to its leadership as a "creative entertainment company," Yoshida said, pointing to the autonomous vehicle as a new venue for consumer entertainment.

Underscoring that mission, the company also presented its most recent sales figures for the PlayStation 4 gaming console and revealed its logo for the upcoming PlayStation 5, which will go to market at the end of 2020.

Yoshida said Sony has sold 106 million PlayStation 4 consoles, and 1.15 billion games have been sold for the console. The PlayStation 4 has surpassed the sales of the original PlayStation. Sony has also sold about 5 million PlayStation virtual reality systems. There are 103 million monthly active users on the online ecosystem PlayStation Network.

The new PlayStation 5 logo is aesthetically continuous with the PlayStation 4 logo.