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CES 2020

Sony unveils self-driving car to be tested in fiscal 2020

Prototype intended to glean know-how for developing image sensor market

Sony President Kenichiro Yoshida announces the concept car at CES 2020.   © Getty Images

LAS VEGAS -- Sony on Monday unveiled a prototype car equipped with the company's own self-driving system which it aims to trial on public roads starting in fiscal 2020 through March 2021.

The system combines Sony technologies, including artificial intelligence and cloud, to detect and recognize people and objects in and outside the car.

"It's not an exaggeration to say that mobile has been the megatrend of the last decade. I believe the next megatrend will be mobility," Sony President Kenichiro Yoshida said at CES, the world's largest digital technology show.

Sony does not plan to commercialize the car, but aims to use it to acquire self-driving-related technologies know-how by testing them on the prototype to help achieve its goal of developing the automotive image sensor market.

Thirty-three sensors, including image sensors, are mounted in the prototype's interior and exterior. Software controlling the car is updated as necessary through the use of artificial intelligence and cloud technologies.

The prototype is capable of providing "Level 2" driving support, in which more than one of three functions -- steering, accelerating and braking -- are automated.

The vehicle also features in-car entertainment functions using speakers embedded in the seats, showcasing Sony's technology.

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