Sony chief says mobility will be 2020 tech ‘mega-trend’

Kenichiro Yoshida believes mobility will be a focal point for tech companies in the coming decade.
7 January 2020

Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida unveils the Sony Vision-S electric concept at CES 2020. Source: AFP

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that mobile has been the mega-trend of the last decade,” said Sony Chief Executive Kenichiro Yoshida at CES 2020.

“I believe the next mega-trend will be mobility.”

Yoshida’s words came as the global electronics firm unveiled its autonomous car concept at the Las Vegas consumer tech show.

Dubbed the Vision-S, the car is designed to showcase the company’s ability to combine safety, reliability, comfort, and entertainment. It includes 33 sensors to monitor surroundings and passengers and employs Sony’s AI technology to detect and recognize people.

Yoshida used the unveiling to announce the company’s belief that mobility— connected and autonomous vehicles, and the technology that will be packaged in and alongside them— will become a core focus of technology companies in the coming years.

Sony, he added, “will continue to evolve as a creative entertainment company with a solid foundation of technology.”

Indeed, the mobility and augmenting the experience of those on-board connected vehicles has been a focus of established car brands entering the self-driving space.

At MWC 2019 last year, BMW demonstrated its intentions to revolutionize how drivers interact with their vehicles, introducing voice control, gesture control and gaze recognition, available in its BMW iNEXT from 2021.

“Customers should be able to communicate with their intelligent connected vehicle in a totally natural way,” BMW Group Electronics Christoph Grote, Senior Vice President explained.

“People shouldn’t have to think about which operating strategy to use to get what they want. They should always be able to decide freely, and the car should still understand them,” he added.

Audi, meanwhile, teamed up with VR company Holoride to create new, gamified experiences for passengers.

According to MarketWatch, the global connected vehicle market is expected to grow from US$42.1 billion in 2015 to US$ 122.5 billion in 2023.

Sony’s announcement heralds how mobility investment could ramp up in the coming years, as a broad sweep of new entrants seek to capitalize on a burgeoning market. But Sony isn’t the only electronics firms to show an active interest in the mobility space.

At the Tokyo Motor Show at the tail-end of 2019, ubiquitous brands such as Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric, and Panasonic fronted their entry into autonomous and electronic vehicle technology, showing they are ready to take advantage of experience and knowledge to manufacture motors, inverters, and sensors, that will become “indispensable” to the growing industry.