Sony and Honda unveiled a prototype of a new electric car under the brand name Afeela on Wednesday.
The vehicle, which looks like a mid-sized sedan, was driven on stage at CES 2023 in Las Vegas, with a new front end sporting the Afeela logo.
“Afeela represents our concept of an interactive relationship where people feel the sensation of interactive mobility and where mobility can detect and understand people and society by utilizing sensing and AI technologies,” Yasuhide Mizuno, Sony Honda Mobility chief executive said.
The Afeela logo appeared on a narrow screen or “media bar” on the vehicle’s front bumper that can also interact and share information with people outside the vehice or passersby such as the weather or the car’s state of charge, as demonstrated on stage. Mizuno didn’t offer many details on why the name Afeela was selected apart from sharing that the word “feel” was at the heart of the mobility experience.
Leaning into Sony’s strength in sensors, the Afeela concept car comes equipped with 45 cameras and sensors on the interior and exterior of the vehicle, some of which will help detect the driver’s condition to help ensure safety, the company said. On the software side, it will use technology from Qualcomm including its so-called Snapdragon Digital Chassis, while Unreal Engine graphics technology, which was used in General Motors’ Hummer EV, is slated to design interfaces for the vehicle. Thanks to Sony’s side of the partnership, the Afeela car is expected to have best-in-class entertainment for movies and games on tap as well.
“For the design, we are taking an approach that aims to set new value standards for mobility as we evolve automotive design to focus not only driving dynamics and performance, but also on software networks and interfaces,” Mizuno said.
Sony and Honda announced a joint venture last year to develop and build electric cars. The JV, called Sony Honda Mobility, aims to have pre-orders established for its electric vehicle in the first half of 2025, with sales to follow in the latter half of that year. The first shipments are earmarked to be delivered to customers in North America in the spring of 2026, Mizuno said.
The company appears to be focusing on online sales, and Sony Honda Mobility has previously said it wants customers to “take part in the product development process,” whatever that means. The car will be produced at Honda’s facilities in North America.