Nearly a year after the two companies announced their plans to build new EVs together, Sony and Honda have now finally unveiled a new prototype at CES 2023 under the new brand, Afeela.
The prototype sedan, driven on stage by Sony’s CEO Kenichiro Yoshida, is slated to go into production by the end of 2025.
The name Afeela is meant to represent “feel”, as in “where people ‘feel’ mobility as an intelligent entity, and mobility ‘feels’ people and society using sensing and network IT technologies”. It’s branded itself as a “mobility tech company”, and will leverage on Sony’s expertise in artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, and augmented reality to create technology and experience-focused EVs.
As for the car itself, the Afeela prototype vehicle looks pretty much like the first Sony concept that was first revealed three years ago. On the outside, it will feature a Media Bar on both the front and rear fascia, allowing the car to “express itself” and communicate with surrounding people using light.
The interior meanwhile is based on a “gentle rounded tone”, with a design that cocoons the occupants to create a comfortable atmosphere, yet being as simple as possible to minimise distractions.
It’ll also have a total of 45 cameras and sensors inside out, including in-car cameras and Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensors to detect the driver and car’s conditions at all times to help avoid accidents. The company has committed to develop a Level 3 automated driving system “under limited conditions”, and Level 2+ driving assistance in even more situations, including urban driving.
Not much else has been revealed on the car just yet, but we do know that it’ll be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Digital Chassis processor. The car will also “seamlessly [integrate] real and virtual worlds”, with the company already partnering with Epic Games to explore possibilities in virtual settings such as the metaverse.