Quadcopters can be used in video shooting as well

Sony’s latest ventures show Sony at its best: the VISION-S electric car and a professional video drone

What kind of company do you consider Sony to be?

What is your impression of the company Sony? Since the portable music player genre was created with the WALKMAN, many people think of Sony as an audio equipment manufacturer.It is also known as a manufacturer of video recording equipment such as video cameras for television broadcasting or consumers. Again, it is also famous for televisions and a variety of broadcasting equipment, not to mention the PlayStation series of game consoles.

Recently, the α (Alpha) series of mirrorless interchangeable-lens digital cameras has been highly rated. Sony’s interchangeable-lens digital camera business continues the tradition of two historic camera manufacturers: Konica and Minolta, and has now grown to the same level as world-class camera manufacturers Canon and Nikon.

Regardless, Sony’s image as an audio-visual and entertainment business is strong.

Electric vehicles like moving concert halls or movie theaters

This is the Sony that is now venturing into the new field of electric vehicles. To demonstrate the kind of car that Sony will make, an experimental car called the VISION-S Prototype is now under development. Sony’s VISION-S prototype vehicle was completed in December 2020 and has begun public road tests in Austria.

According to the introductory webpage VISION-S is a 4-seater sedan car. With a top speed of 240 kph and capable of accelerating from 0 to 100 kph in 4.8 seconds, it has the same performance as a sports car. However, its driveability is not particularly outstanding. Sony shows its innovative prowess in other areas.

First of all, the car has a total of 40 different sensors installed both inside and outside the vehicle which provide a 360-degree view of surrounding conditions and monitor the physical condition of the driver. These sensors are used to reduce the burden on the driver, maintain safety, and make the car interior more comfortable.

In addition, the car provides the equivalent of Level 2+ of driving automation with functions such as automatic cruising, parking, and lane-changing. In the future, the plan is to provide Level 4 equivalent automation w\by means of software updates.

The car’s interior sensors read the driver’s facial expressions and movements to determine their level of concentration or fatigue. If the driver appears tired an alert is issued to recommend taking a break, thus preventing possible accidents. In addition, gesture recognition and lip reading functions enable a hands-free operation even in situations where voice commands are drowned out by noise. The car is even equipped with a system that can judge whether the interior temperature is comfortable or not based on passenger movements and then adjust the air conditioning accordingly.

The car’s on board entertainment facilities are also substantial. Equipped with a sound system called 360 Reality Audio, it appears that passengers can enjoy an immersive, three-dimensional sound field in the car that envelops them in sound from all directions.

Screens fill almost the entire width of the dashboard, providing both driving information and also showing a variety of content such as movies. Highly adaptable, the screens can show different content on the driver’s side and the passenger’s side. There are also two screens provided for the back seats. Passengers can play games on their home PlayStation by connecting to it via a 5-G network.

The car is truly like a moving concert hall, movie theater and game center.

The video for VISION-S was shot by Airpeak; a drone equipped with a full-frame mirrorless single-lens camera.

I wonder have you seen the video of VISION-S’s public road test? Part of this powerful footage was recorded using Airpeak; a professional photography drone now being developed by Sony.

Airpeak is a quadcopter developed by Sony to enable the shooting of video footage at a professional level.

The VISION-S video was shot with a α7S III camera loaded onto the payload of the Airpeak drone which flew at the same speed as the car while filming. The footage has a high level of stability that will be appreciated by professionals.

As the VISION-S is still a prototype, Sony has not yet provided any concrete sales plans. On the other hand, movie makers will be able to buy Airpeak from the spring of 2021.

Nobuhiko Sato