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By Anna Cooban, CNN Business
Sony has announced plans to launch an electric car company later this year as it unveiled a new sports utility vehicle concept.
The Japanese tech company will set up a new operating subsidiary called “Sony Mobility Inc.” in the coming months and is considering the commercial launch of an electric vehicle, Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said at the CES consumer tech trade show on Tuesday.
“With our imaging and sensing, cloud, 5G and entertainment technologies combined with our content mastery, we believe Sony is well positioned as a creative entertainment company to redefine mobility,” Yoshida said.
The company — best known for its electronic gadgets and entertainment products — plans to use AI and robotics in its new EV business. It unveiled the Vision-S 02, a SUV prototype, at the CES conference in Las Vegas.
The concept SUV uses Sony sensors to enable some self-driving functions and makes use of the company’s expertise in entertainment. Passengers would be able to play video games on the go while connected to their PlayStation consoles at home.
Sony introduced its first prototype vehicle, the Vision-S 01 two years ago, which it started testing on public roads in Europe in December 2020. The new SUV would use the same EV cloud platform as the first model, Sony said in a press release.
It is unclear whether the company hopes to build cars under its own brand or partner with other automakers.
Speculation that Sony competitor Apple is considering making its own electric vehicle has swirled for years. The rumor mill turned again in April last year when CEO Tim Cook hinted autonomous driving would be a core feature of any Apple car, but the $3 trillion company has so far not confirmed plans to build one.
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