Sony Group is likely to add new technology partners to its electric vehicle project.
All to help the Asian giant realize its plans to turn cars into entertainment venues, a Sony director told Reuters.
The transition to electric cars, which are easier to build than those with internal combustion engines, allows new players to enter the market. At the same time, autonomous driving and 5G connectivity are expected to reshape the automotive industry by transforming cars into mobile platforms for information and entertainment services.
“We see the risk of ignoring electric vehicles as greater than the challenge,” said Izumi Kawanishi, senior general manager of the new Sony Mobility business, in an interview. The future transformation of cars was somewhat similar to the way information technology turned phones into smartphones, he added.
“We understand that speed is important when it comes to making a decision,” added Kawanishi, who joined the Japanese consumer electronics company as a software engineer in 1986 and leads the AI robotics unit that produces the Aibo robot pet.
The car, a means of entertainment
So far, Sony has built two EV “Vision” prototypes with contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Austria, which also builds cars for BMW, Mercedes Benz and Toyota.
Other members of his European-based project include Robert Bosch, Valeo and the Hungarian autonomous vehicle start-up AImotive.
In order to bring an electric vehicle to market, Sony should probably invest heavily in plant and equipment. Tesla, which delivered its first electric vehicle in 2008, has spent billions of dollars to make its business viable.
Sony will also have to deal with traditional carmakers such as Toyota, General Motors and Volkswagen, which spend tens of billions of dollars to beat newcomers.
Sony is part of a growing list of technology companies exploring automotive opportunities, including iPhone maker Apple, Foxconn in South Korea, LG in Taiwan and Alibaba in China.