Over the past few years, many car makers have ditched petrol and diesel cars for electric ones. But while most of them are still obsessed with power and range, Sony and Honda are looking at this change as a chance to transform mobility.
They set up their joint venture SHM in September 2022, to combine their strengths in technology and mobility and become a "Mobility Tech company". Their cars are called Afeela, and a prototype of the vehicle was controlled using the controller at the ongoing CES 2024.
The vehicle prototype, which they showed off in January last year, is a four-door saloon that has evolved from Sony's Vision S, which they revealed a few years ago. Like other electric cars these days, the Afeela prototype also has loads of sensors and cameras to help the car sense its surroundings and help the driver.
SHM doesn't plan to make its EV fully self-driving anytime soon but thinks that the mobility intelligence will go along with manual vehicle control. It calls the onboard AI Vision Transformer and claims it can do Level 2/2+ driving assistance under various driving conditions.
As well as driving the EV onto the stage, SHM also spilled the beans on the other updates that have happened in the past year. The company's collaboration with Epic Games has gone beyond the games that will be available in the car and now includes making an augmented reality (AR) map with the data collected from the car's many sensors.
SHM uses the powerful gaming engine Unreal Engine 5 to show amazing 3D maps of the car's surroundings to the car's passengers to improve safety. Eventually, this will expand to include making gaming and entertainment features.
The company is working with Polyphony Digital to blur the lines between real and virtual in the car, much like the latter does in its Gran Turismo games.