Sony having teamed up with Honda announced the Afeela brand and showcased a prototype EV sedan at the 2023 CES (Consumer Electronics Show) last year.
This year, at the 2024 CES, the Afeela car was brought on stage by Izumi Kawanishi, president of the joint venture Sony Honda Mobility, in the most bizarre way possible: a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller.
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While the demonstration was impressive, Kawanishi pointed out that parking an electric vehicle using a game controller is not a consumer-oriented function; rather, it acted as a flamboyant tech showcase during Afeela’s third appearance at CES. The occasion provided an opportunity to reveal more details about Afeela’s development, highlighting the unique entertainment and safety features that resulted from Sony and Honda’s collaboration.
The Afeela shares more than just the controller with the PlayStation 5; it also uses Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 5.3 to power its large dashboard display, which includes 3D visuals, rich maps, virtual environments, and augmented reality views of the environment. Sony’s enormous portfolio of TV, movie, and gaming content is available for entertainment while driving or while parked and charging.
Unreal Engine not only powers the Afeela’s entertainment features, but it also renders simulated scenes used for instructing the vehicle’s multicamera driver assistance systems. The engine’s realistic graphics improve safety by delivering precise simulations for training visual models and neural network processing, which powers the EV’s driver assistance functions. Additionally, Sony Honda Mobility announced a collaboration with Microsoft to use Azure AI cloud-scale computing technologies in Afeela’s development.
Sony hinted at a collaboration with its in-house game team, Polyphony Digital, which created the Gran Turismo racing simulator. While details were limited, the companies are developing a method to “bring together virtual and real-world experiences.” A teaser showing the Afeela racing around a route similar to Grand Valley Highway One from the Gran Turismo series hinted at an immersive driving experience in Gran Turismo 7.
All of this may be sampled in the virtual realm, including the 400 kW twin electric powertrain and all-wheel drive system, which can push the car to 100 km/h in just 4.8 seconds. Unlike in the real world, players will not have to worry about charging the 91 kWh battery, which supports 150 kW DC rapid charging.
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