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Electronics giant Sony and automobile company Honda recently revealed the prototype of their joint electric car initiative at 2023’s CES.
Sony and Honda have unveiled the prototype of their joint electric car initiative Afeela at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES). On Wednesday, the four-door sedan drove onstage as Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida explained the company’s mobility outlook. According to Kenichiro, Sony looks to build vehicles that have autonomous functionality and can transform into “moving entertainment spaces.”
There is little-known information regarding Afeela. However, the Sony/Honda electric car will begin shipping to North America in 2026. Meanwhile, the first preorders of the Afeelas will happen in 2025, with sales also starting that same year.
Deep Dive into Upcoming Sony-Honda Electric Car
According to reports, production of the midsize-sedan-looking Afeela will take place at one of Honda’s manufacturing plants. Furthermore, the electric automobile will combine staple elements from both Sony and Honda in its functionality. For example, Afeela would leverage Sony’s experience with AI, virtual reality, entertainment, and augmented reality for a pleasurable and interactive driving experience. In addition, the car would incorporate grounded safety and driver assistance systems from Honda. According to Sony Honda Mobility CEO Yasuhide Mizuno, Afeela’s offerings will focus on sensing and interacting with people. In addition, Mizuno said that much production emphasis would also be placed on enhancing driving dynamics and performance. Summing these concepts up, the Sony Honda Mobility chief executive explained:
“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 utilizing sensing and AI technologies.”
The vehicle’s exterior will reportedly sport over 40 sensors, including cameras, ultrasonic, radar, and lidar. These sensors enhance Afeela’s ability to detect objects while driving autonomously. Among the aforementioned sensors is a narrow exterior display screen called the media bar, which runs along the car’s front bumper. In a nutshell, Mizuno said that the EV would embody three primary themes, namely autonomy, augmentation, and affinity.
Epic Games Collaboration
Sony and Honda are working with Unreal Engine graphics technology from Epic Games to design Afeela’s interface. Unreal Engine, which produces Fortnite, has also seen its technology deployed by other automobile brands, including General Motors.
Epic Games chief technology officer Kim Libreri commented on how the video game and software developer would enhance Afeela’s functionality. He says the most organic way to visualize critical data within the vehicle is via intuitive interactive photo real augmentation. Libreri further explained that this ability played to Epic Games’ strengths. He also said:
“In the future, the automobile will become a next generation destination for social connectivity. Not only for the occupants, but also their network of friends and colleagues. It will become a continuum of our digital lives.”
Pricing of Afeela, which currently resembles a mashup between a Porsche 911 and the Lucid Air, will be comparable to other premium automakers. These include Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, and Volvo. Furthermore, Sony expects the car’s software to offer subscription-based services. This implies that Afeela’s owners will likely have to pay a monthly fee to access certain features.