In a disappointing about-face, Sony has indicated that it won’t make its Vision-S electric vehicle available to the public after all.
Sony surprised the world by unveiling its own electric car at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2020, and the technology and electronics company was following all the normal paths towards a series production run.
Now, though, Sony has poured cold water on expectations by revealing that the Vision-S is, in fact, only a test bed for technology development.
“At present, we have no plans to mass-produce or sell the vehicle. With mobility expected as a major mega trend into the future, we’re exploring how Sony can contribute in a meaningful way to the era of autonomous driving," a company spokesperson told US site Car and Driver.
This follows less than a month after the car was seen testing on Austrian roads, leading to assumptions that the Vision-S was on a steady track towards reality.
However, Sony has confirmed it has no current plans to build the Vision-S or anything like it, though the technology firm did stop short of ruling out a play in the EV space in the future.
Instead, Sony says the Vision-S is designed to test new technologies relating to autonomous driving and infotainment including gesture control, a 360-degree audio system and its own LIDAR-based autonomous driving system.
We wouldn't put it past the company to somehow incorporate its Playstation 5 gaming system in the future, too.
MORE: LIDAR explained
It is curious, though, that Sony went to the trouble of building a fully-functioning electric car with help from partner Magna Steyr (which also builds the Toyota Supra and BMW Z4), shipped the car across the world for various development tweaks, and even tested its safety tech on public roads.
Considering Sony could have developed its systems using an existing car - Google developed its Waymo self-driving tech with a Chrysler Pacifica for example - it is interesting that the Vision-S is so detailed.
We’re not entirely surprised by the news that the Vision-S won’t make it to production, but it’s a shame to think what might’ve been – it’s certainly a looker.
Whether we’ll see more from Sony in the automotive industry remains uncertain, but technology rival Apple is gearing up to launch its own EV with the help of Hyundai by as soon as 2024.