At CES 2023, Sony and Honda unveiled their joint automotive brand, AFEELA, along with the prototype of their first electric car. The car is set to go on sale in 2026, with pre-orders starting in 2025. It will initially be available in the US before being released in Japan and Europe.
The prototype has 45 cameras, and Qualcomm Snapdragon processors will power sensors for better safety and the car’s electronics. The user interface will be based on Epic Games’ Unreal Engine. Sony will incorporate artificial intelligence, entertainment, and virtual and augmented reality into the car, while Honda will handle the automotive aspect. The new electric car is expected to compete with premium cars from brands such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, and Audi.
The partnership between Sony and Honda was announced in March 2022 to develop an electric and autonomous vehicle capable of competing in the premium market. The CEO of the Sony Honda Mobility joint venture, Yasuhide Mizuno, explained that the term ‘AFEELA’ incorporates the English verb “feel” to insinuate the brand’s focus — the mobility experience it will offer to its customers. Sony will develop the necessary technology for intelligent, connected, and autonomous mobility, while Honda will contribute its experience in the automotive sector and its manufacturing infrastructure.
During his presentation, Mizuno explained that the prototype incorporates 45 sensors using various technologies, such as ultrasound, cameras, ToF sensors, and radars, to ensure maximum safety and implement advanced driving assistance technologies.
Qualcomm and Epic Games are among the companies supporting Sony in developing the technologies required for the electric car. Qualcomm is contributing its microprocessors and collaborating with Sony on developing autonomous driving technology, while Epic Games is providing the Unreal Engine to be used in the car’s user interface.
In addition to its advanced technology and capabilities, the AFEELA electric car also boasts a sleek and stylish design. According to Mizuno, the exterior design was inspired by a sports car’s sleek lines and curves, while the interior was designed with comfort and convenience. The car will feature spacious and comfortable seating and a state-of-the-art infotainment system.
One of the unique features of the Afeela electric car is its use of virtual and augmented reality technology. Sony’s expertise in this field will allow the car to offer a fully immersive and interactive driving experience. For example, the car’s augmented reality windshield will display real-time information and alerts. In contrast, the virtual reality headrests will allow passengers to watch movies or TV shows in a fully immersive environment.
In terms of performance, the AFEELA electric car is expected to deliver impressive acceleration and handling. It will be equipped with a powerful electric motor and a high-capacity battery pack, allowing long-distance travel on a single charge. The car will also feature advanced traction control and stability systems, ensuring a smooth and safe ride.
The AFEELA electric car will be produced at one of Honda’s 12 plants in the US. It is expected to be a major player in the electric and autonomous vehicle market, competing with other premium brands. With Sony’s expertise in artificial intelligence and entertainment and Honda’s knowledge in the automotive industry, the partnership is well-equipped to bring a high-quality and innovative product to market.