Sony Honda Mobility exhibits vehicle development with new prototype

Credit: Sony Honda Mobility

Sony Honda Mobility has shown off its development skills with its newest prototype vehicle, the Afeela.

Sony Honda Mobility is a strange partnership that has been in the works for years now. Much like the vehicle displayed today, the association started at CES years ago as Sony announced that it would be working to develop and produce an electric vehicle. And while at first, many anticipated the tech giant would be working with the automotive production giant Magna International, Sony instead chose to partner with Honda. Now, the partnership corporation, Sony Honda Mobility, has shown off its newest prototype vehicle, the Afleela.

While the vehicle resembles many of the initial Sony development prototypes, the new Afeela vehicle is clearly a step away from those designs. The vehicle has become even more smooth in design but also gains a new level of interior refinement and design purpose than previous iterations.

While far from introducing full specifications for its upcoming vehicle, Sony Honda Mobility has at least outlined some basic technical details and design goals with a little more specificity. The upcoming vehicle will be all-wheel-drive and has dimensions similar to the Tesla Model 3, if slightly longer. The company also outlines that the prototype vehicle is equipped with a total of 45 cameras in order to allow for high-level autonomy.

In terms of design goals, the first is autonomy. The company’s website states, “Autonomous intelligence for mobility. Where we aim to create the essential foundations for safety and security. Using sensors and many intelligent technologies, we will realize mobility with peace of mind.” And while many would point out that this is a similar level of detail to previous announcements, it at least clarifies that self-driving capabilities are a forefront feature for the vehicle.

The second design goal is augmentation. “Mobility space built upon safety and security presents the possibility of enjoyment beyond driving,” states the website. “We will explore new experiences for mobility that go beyond what we thought time and space be like.” Yet more platitudes and unspecific marketing jargon, but beneath the surface layer, Sony may be hinting at creative new UI and driving experiences that their tech background could make possible.

Third and finally is “affinity.” And I will make no claims to understand the company’s statements regarding this design goal. Still, I would be astonished if the company’s goal of creating “mobility that is open to people, open to society” is in regards to an aggressively affordable electric vehicle offering.

Perhaps the best takeaway from today’s showing is that Sony Honda Mobility is a far more serious venture than initially believed. And while many have doubted that the company would come this far, it continues to astonish and move forward. I hope that this level of EV progressivism becomes a more prominent part of Honda’s business plan in the near future as well.

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Sony Honda Mobility exhibits vehicle development with new prototype
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