Japanese automakers Toyota and Suzuki have announced that they would work together in ecological and safety technology — a rapidly growing area in the industry. Toyota Motor Corp., the maker of the Camry sedan, Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury models, and Suzuki Motor Corp., which specializes in tiny cars, announced the decision, following approval by the company boards, and signed a memorandum of agreement, both sides said.
Another area for possible collaboration is information technology as well as supplying each other with products and components. The next step would be to come up with specific cooperation projects, they said. Suzuki does not have a hybrid, electric car or fuel cell vehicle in its lineup. Self-driving cars are also a growing focus in the industry.
Toyota President Akio Toyoda praised Suzuki’s pioneer spirit. “I am truly thankful for having been given this opportunity to work together with a company such as Suzuki, which overflows with the spirit of challenge. Toyota looks forward to learning much,” he said in a statement.
Developing futuristic technology is costly, and the automakers can hope to reduce costs by working together. Toyota and Suzuki have encouraged others to join the partnership. “We now stand at the starting point for building a concrete cooperative relationship. I want to give this effort our fullest and to aim at producing results that will lead Toyota to conclude that it was the right thing for Toyota to have decided to work together with Suzuki,” said Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki.
Sony Exhibits New Products and Innovations at CES 2022
Sony exhibited at CES 2022 that took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and online on January 5. Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President, and CEO of Sony Group Corporation spoke at Sony’s press conference held on January 4 ahead of the exhibition’s public opening, stating, “Throughout the past two challenging years, we have reaffirmed the importance of our Purpose. We want to enable people to connect more deeply with those who share the same interests and form stronger bonds within their communities.” He touched on Sony’s work with artists such as Adele on her new album “30,” and introduced its latest technologies and initiatives to support creators, including “Virtual Production” that removes restrictions on video production, Sony’s professional drone “Airpeak” that supports creativity, and its latest smartphone “Xperia PRO-I.”
Next to take the stage was Tom Rothman, Chairman, and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, to talk about PlayStation Productions, a collaboration between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Interactive Entertainment to produce movies and TV based on PlayStation IP. Tom Holland, who stars in PlayStation Productions’ film adaptation of Uncharted, and Neil Druckmann, Co-President of game development studio Naughty Dog, talked about the significance of the collaboration.
Next, Jim Ryan, President, and CEO, Sony Interactive Entertainment, announced the next-generation virtual reality system PlayStation VR2 and the new PlayStation VR2 Sense controllers that will realise an unprecedented experience and immersive feeling in the world of games. Furthermore, he announced the latest in the “Horizon” series, “Horizon Call of the Mountain,” which was a huge hit all over the world, as a title exclusively for PlayStation VR2.
Yoshida then took to the stage again, to highlight the tracking technology of Sony Group company Hawk-Eye Innovations, and Sony’s partnership with Manchester City Football Club for the realisation of next-generation fan communities in the virtual space. Yoshida concluded his presentation by speaking on the latest progress and future direction of VISION-S- an initiative that aims to contribute to the evolution of mobility. He stated that “Sony is well-positioned as a ‘creative entertainment company’ to redefine mobility,” and announced that Sony will establish an operating company “Sony Mobility Inc.” in the spring of 2022, through which the company intends to explore entry into the EV market..
Main Products and Technologies Being Showcased\
Under the theme “Co-create the Future of Entertainment,” Sony will introduce various technologies and initiatives that support creators and get closer to users at its booth in Las Vegas and the online platform “Sony Square.”
Highlights of the Sony Booth in Las Vegas:
A prototype (VISION-S 01), which is being tested on public roads, and an SUV-type prototype vehicle (VISION-S 02) as a new form factor will be exhibited. For more details, please refer to the press release and special site about VISION-S.
Sony’s professional drone “Airpeak S1,” for which sales have now started in the US, will be exhibited for the first time. Airpeak S1 is the world’s smallest drone that can be equipped with a full-size mirrorless Alpha camera. It features a proprietary motor, propeller, control system and sensing technology that enables high agility and dynamic and precise flight.
PlayStation 5 brings players into game worlds with unprecedented speed, visual fidelity, and sensor immersion. PS5 is equipped with an ultra-high speed SSD, integrated custom I/O, Tempest 3D AudioTech technology, and DualSenseT Wireless Controller with cutting-edge haptic technology and adaptive triggers. A collection of all five galaxy-inspired colour variations for the console covers and DualSense wireless controller will also be showcased in the venue.
Crystal LED Theater
A large Crystal LED will be installed at the entrance to the booth, displaying content that introduces Sony’s latest innovations in areas such as virtual production and future of sport entertainment:
Virtual production frees creators from various restrictions in shooting, such as location, weather, and time, by implementing a production environment that integrates the background image with the subject in real time. The combination of Crystal LED, which projects high-definition background images with high contrast and rich colour reproduction, and the cinema camera “VENICE,” which achieves high resolution and delicate depictions, stimulates creators’ creativity and increases the freedom of expression.
Hawk-Eye’s Tracking Systems and Virtual Fan Engagement
Hawk-Eye Innovations, a Sony Group company, has been advancing innovation in the world of sports through its sports officiating and broadcast enhancement technology. Their latest achievement has been the introduction of new skeletal tracking and data-visualisation systems. These systems make it possible to instantly and accurately track the movements of athletes and objects from the live game video captures, collect the skeletal data and virtually recreate the live action.
Sony is also conducting a PoC (proof of concept) with Manchester City Football Club to create a next-generation global online fan community that integrates the physical and virtual worlds. The PoC will leverage Sony’s image analysis technology and sensing technology, as well as Hawk-Eye’s tracking systems, to explore the creation of new forms of entertainment to engage sports fans all over the world.
Together with the University of Tokyo and JAXA, Sony is promoting STARSPHERE, a project aimed at creating inspiring space experiences. Sony will exhibit for the first time a mock-up of a nano-satellite equipped with Sony’s camera equipment, scheduled for launch in the 2022 fiscal year. Using a shooting simulator, users can control the satellite to capture the earth and stars exactly as they intended. STARSPHERE aims to generate new value and deliver inspirational experiences by enriching people’s perspectives of space and will engage in co-creation with various creators and partners in this area going forward.
In addition to video coverage of its press conference and exhibits in Las Vegas, Sony will also feature videos of technologies and initiatives relating to the sub-themes: “Empower Creators,” “Expand Fan Communities,” and “Envision a Better Planet.” New product announcement videos for Sony’s 8K/4K BRAVIA TV line-up and live 360 Reality Audio live video performance will also be available.
BRAVIA XR TV Line-up
A new Mini LED line-up is added to the BRAVIA XR TV Series. Powered by Cognitive Processor XR™, Sony’s unique signal processing technology, “XR Backlight Master Drive” precisely controls Mini LED backlight for incredible dazzling lights and deep blacks in every corner of the large screen. The new BRAVIA XR™ TV line-up delivers immersive viewing and gameplay experiences formed by combining in-depth picture and three-dimensional sound.
Sony Shows Off VISION-S Prototype Electric Vehicle at CES 2022
At CES 2020, Sony announced “VISION-S,” an initiative aimed at contributing to the evolution of mobility and exhibited a prototype vehicle at its booth. To demonstrate this concept in the real world, Sony started public road testing in Europe in December of the same year, and started verification tests of the safety and user experience of the imaging and sensing technology installed inside and outside the vehicle, and the human-machine interface (HMI) system. Sony began 5G driving tests in April 2021 and will continue to apply its cutting-edge technologies to provide new experiences in the realm of mobility, which is undergoing a shift to electric vehicles (EV).
Sony plans to further develop the above efforts as it enters a new phase of VISION-S development, and announced the following at CES 2022, “VISION-S continues its aim of evolving mobility to be even closer to people, while developing technologies centered on safety and security, adaptability, and entertainment. At CES 2022, Sony announced and exhibited an SUV-type prototype vehicle (VISION-S 02) as a new form factor. This vehicle uses the same EV/cloud platform as the prototype (VISION-S 01), which is being tested on public roads. By offering entertainment experiences utilising the large interior space and variations of a 7-seater, this new prototype will, together with VISION-S 01, promote the accommodation of a large variety of lifestyles within a society where values are becoming increasingly diversified.”
VISION-S: Status of efforts in priority areas
Safety: Safe and secure mobility
The system supports safe driving by recognising and analysing the surrounding environment in real time, with sensors installed 360 degrees around the vehicle. These sensors include high-sensitivity, high-resolution, wide dynamic range CMOS image sensors and LiDAR sensors that accurately sense three-dimensional space. In addition, the system provides intuitive driver interaction in conjunction with the vehicle’s sound system and HMI system, so that the driver can accurately judge the status of the surrounding environment, such as the presence of emergency vehicles, even from inside the vehicle. Sony aims to provide greater safety and comfort to all through its sensor and communication technologies and is currently conducting functional verification tests in Europe toward the release of Level 2+ advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) on public roads.
Adaptability: Getting closer to people and growing together
Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors are used to provide monitoring functions for driver authentication and to watch over passengers. They also support intuitive gesture and voice commands that are intended to enhance usability of the car interface. Additionally, in order to deliver an environment that suits each user’s preferences, the vehicle will include a new function that allows users to customise the display theme and the acceleration and deceleration sounds of the vehicle.
Vehicle settings, key locks, and user settings can be synchronised by linking the vehicle to the cloud using mobile communication, including 5G communication, which features low-latency, high-capacity, and high-speed capabilities. In addition, since updates are reflected in the vehicle via over the air (OTA), it is possible to provide security and evolve service functions and value-added offerings continuously.
Remote operation: Utilising Sony’s in-house technologies and knowledge of communication technology and security cultivated through the development of smartphones, Sony has positioned remote operation as an important technology in anticipation of the arrival of the autonomous driving era. To achieve this, Sony conducted driving experiments connecting Japan and Germany with 5G and is working with its partners to achieve low-latency transmission (video and control signals) and communication control (monitoring and prediction) using the telematics system installed in VISION-S 01.
Entertainment: Enriching the mobility entertainment space
The seat speakers, which create a three-dimensional sound field, and the streaming service compatible with “360 Reality Audio” provide an immersive music experience as if passengers are surrounded by the live performance of a favourite artist.
In addition, to provide a high-quality movie experience, VISION-S includes the fully integrated digital video service “BRAVIA CORE for VISION-S.” The service enables shared or individual video playback on the front panoramic screen and individual rear-seat displays.
Further extending the possibilities of in-vehicle entertainment, gaming capabilities have expanded to being able to play PlayStation games through a remote connection to a console at home, in addition to the ability to play streaming games through the cloud.
Entering a new phase
In order to further accelerate and make new proposals that further evolve the mobility experience, Sony will establish an operating company “Sony Mobility Inc.” in the spring of 2022, through which the company intends to explore entry into the EV market.
Business objectives of the new company
The new company will aim to make the best use of AI and robotics technologies, help realise a world where everyone can live in harmony with robots on a daily basis, fill people with emotion, and contribute to society. With VISION-S, which contributes to the evolution of mobility, together with the autonomous entertainment robot aibo, and the drone Airpeak, Sony will seek to continue to create new value in a variety of fields.
Bentley Intros GT Mulliner Blackline
Bentley has introduced a Mulliner Blackline specification for its GT and GT Convertible, building on the popularity and success of the striking Blackline external treatment, which is offered as an option across the full Bentley range. By bringing a daring, black alternative to the exterior chrome-work on Bentley’s class-leading Grand Tourer, Mulliner is presenting a darker side to the ultra-luxury brand’s popular four-seater, complementing the myriad options available to its clients.
Created by the skilled craftsmen at Mulliner, the GT Mulliner Blackline features a host of exterior changes in comparison to the current GT and GT Convertible Mulliner derivatives, delivering an additional contemporary twist on ultimate luxury to its pinnacle GT models. The new option is in response to the increasing demand for black versions of bright ware, with 38 percent of Continental GT family orders globally now including this option.
For the Blackline version, all of the exterior bright ware excluding the Bentley ‘Winged B’ badge turns black, as does the radiator grille bezel. In place of the satin silver upper mirror caps typical of a GT Mulliner, for the Blackline version, the mirrors are finished in gloss Beluga black. The signature Mulliner matrix wing vents are also blackened and finished with bright Mulliner branding. The radiator grille remains black with bright edges to the 3D design and the lower bumper grilles are also finished in black.
The GT Mulliner Blackline models feature 22” painted black rims, with self-levelling badges featuring a chrome ring. Alternatively, a black Mulliner wheel with contrast polished ‘pockets’ will be available in the near future. The sumptuous, striking interior of the GT Mulliner Blackline remains unchanged from the existing Mulliner edition, allowing customers to enjoy any colour combination they choose as part of Mulliner’s limitless offering, or one of eight recommended three-colour combinations, using Bentley’s wide palette of hides and threads.
As part of the standard Mulliner Driving Specification, the interior incorporates Bentley’s unique “Diamond in Diamond” quilting for the seats, doors, and rear quarter panels, featuring both contrast and accent stitching running through the diamond layout. With almost 400,000 stitches in the cabin of each car, each diamond contains exactly 712 individual stitches, all precisely aligned to point to the centre of the diamond it creates. A true mark of unrivalled automotive craftsmanship.
Depending on the region, customers are able to choose between Bentley’s now-iconic 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 delivering 635 PS (626 bhp), or the dynamic 4.0-litre V8, which offers 550 PS (542 bhp), both of which provide a grand touring range with the effortless performance expected of a pinnacle Grand Tourer.
The addition of the Blackline edition to the Mulliner range of GT models reinforces Bentley’s position as the world’s leading manufacturer of luxury sporting Grand Tourers, whilst offering bespoke solutions for the most discerning customers who want cars as unique as their own personalities. In short, a contemporary twist on the world’s ultimate luxury coupé.
Bentley Mulliner is renowned throughout the automotive world for crafting some of the most individual Bentleys ever created and has hand-built more than 1,000 unique cars for discerning customers who want their car to be completely suited to their personality. As the pinnacle of bespoke motoring, Bentley Mulliner is the birthplace of coachbuilding and the oldest automotive coachbuilder in the world, operating three distinct divisions, each with its own artisanal specialism.
Bentley Mulliner Coachbuilt allows customers to work closely with a team of specialist designers via the personal commission guide to create or enhance their own unique vehicle – the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar is the first such example. The Bentley Mulliner Classic offering features classic models, each individually handcrafted by a team of specialists from Mulliner, starting with the Blower Continuations Series. Finally, Bentley Mulliner Collections will continue to offer customers luxury-focused derivatives of the core range, as well as the opportunity to personalise and further enhance their new Bentley.
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