Afeela returns: Sony EV will benefit from Microsoft AI and Gran Turismo tech | CAR Magazine

Afeela returns: Sony EV will benefit from Microsoft AI and Gran Turismo tech

Published: 09 January 2024 Updated: 09 January 2024

► Sony and Honda’s joint venture hits production in 2025
► AI, autonomous and tech are the focus outside
► And entertainment is the key focus inside

Sony has given us a fresh update on its forthcoming Afeela car, an EV developed in collaboration with Honda. Shown once again at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the new car was driven on stage remotely using one Sony’s DualSense PlayStation controllers – but theatrics aside, there were other key developments over the 2023 prototype we saw last year.

What’s new? 

Design wise, the Afeela is relatively unchanged – with Sony saying it’s just been evolved to something closer to production spec. Still there are some new features; inside there’s now noise-cancelling and spatial audio tech and a new digital assistant powered by Microsoft Azure technology.

SHM (Sony Honda Mobility) also revealed how the Afeela will use a combination of sensors and AI to realise autonomous driving – and employ Qualcomm high-performance chips to do it.

Virtual environments for safety

An update on the collaboration with Epic Games was also shown, with a demo revealing how the Afeela will use the game engine, along with other inputs such as sensors and map data, to create a new experience for customers. As shown in the picture below, the Afeela can use Unreal Engine 5.3 along with other data points to create a virtual, highly detailed environment that comes with its own safety benefits. 

For example, in the image above, the driver is blinded but can still see the environment virtually in the cockpit screen.

Gran Turismo as a development tool

Alongside the new Afeela updates, SHM revealed it’ll now use Sony’s simulation technology when it comes to making real cars. Software, similar to the kind used in Polyphony’s Gran Turismo series, will be used to develop areas around ‘human senses and emotions,’ in Afeela products.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's Digital Editor, F1 and sim-racing enthusiast. Partial to clever tech and sports bikes