Sony and Honda unveil Afeela electric car brand
Image credit: Sony
Sony and Honda have unveiled their new electric car brand and said they hope to have the new company’s first vehicles on the road within four years.
The technology and car giant’s joint venture is called Afeela, with a prototype electric car appearing on-stage at Sony’s press conference ahead of CES 2023 in Las Vegas, which opens today (Thursday).
Many of the car’s key specifications are still to be revealed, but Yasuhide Mizuno, chief executive of the Sony Honda Mobility Group, said that it would combine “Sony sensors and Honda safety”, with the car set to feature 45 cameras and sensors inside and out which will monitor the car’s condition and surroundings, as well as the driver.
Sony also said it would use its expertise in gaming and entertainment to create a unique in-car experience for passengers – concept images of the inside of the car show an array of screens and interactive environments.
The front of the car also includes a Media Bar, which the tech giant said could be used to share information with people around the electric vehicle, including warnings and charging details.
Mizuno said Afeela hoped to begin sales of the car in 2025, with those first vehicles delivered to North America by spring 2026.
Speaking at the event, Mizuno said: “Afeela represents our concept of an interactive relationship where people feel the sensation of interactive mobility and where mobility can detect and understand people and society by utilising sensing and AI technologies”.
At CES 2022, Sony used its press conference to confirm that it would be setting up its own electric car company, Sony Mobility Inc, through which the company intended to explore entry into the EV market. A prototype electric vehicle, the Vision-S (pictured above), had previously been displayed at CES 2020, which Sony further refined for the 2022 event.
This year's announcement, and the collaboration with Honda, perhaps reflects a consolidation of Sony's plans, with many major companies seeking the optimal path to success under the prevailing testing economic conditions and ongoing manufacturing and supply chain issues. The two Japanese giants working together could well prove beneficial for both parties in forging ahead in the burgeoning EV market.
The automotive sector footprint at CES has mushroomed in recent years, becoming an increasingly dominant and pervasive presence at the tech show, as technology converges with the future of transport.
Once again, CES has expanded the mobility space at the show for this year, with over 300 exhibitors including automakers, as well as a range of related lidar, chip and software companies, showcasing the latest in self-driving technology, electric vehicles and personal mobility devices.
Elsewhere at its CES preview event, Sony confirmed it would have more than 30 games available at launch for the new PlayStation VR2 headset, which is expected to go on sale in February this year.
The headset connects to the PlayStation 5 to enable wearers to play games in virtual reality.
Sony Interactive Entertainment chief executive Jim Ryan said the second-generation headset will enable users to “escape into worlds like never before” and “take gaming to new heights” as it harnesses the power of the PlayStation 5 console.
Ryan also confirmed Sony was working on a new accessibility controller kit, currently known as Project Leonardo, to enable those with disabilities to play video games more easily by allowing them to build their own custom controller.
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