Sony made its first venture into the automotive industry in 2020 with the surprise reveal of the electric Vision S concept car at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas.
The Vision S wasn't intended for production at the time. That changed, however, when the entertainment giant partnered with Honda to form Sony Honda Mobility and build EVs inspired by the Vision S under a new brand called Afeela.
At CES 2024, Sony Honda Mobility unveiled a pre-production prototype of the Afeela while also confirming the electric saloon is heading to Gran Turismo 7.
Afeela EV heading to Gran Turismo 7
The Afeela Prototype 2024, as the latest prototype is officially named, will join Gran Turismo 7’s car roster in a free update later this year, but the release date is yet to be confirmed. This will give potential buyers a chance to test drive the Afeela in GT7 before the production car goes on sale in 2025.
A video released by Sony Honda shows the Afeela rendered in GT7 cruising along Grand Valley Highway and Tokyo Expressway. Before the Afeela arrives in GT7, the Genesis Vision GT concept is expected to be part of the next update in January.
Sony Honda Mobility president and chief operating officer Izumi Kawanishi presented the prototype by driving it onto the stage remotely using a PS5 DualSense controller. We doubt this will be possible in the final car, with Kawanishi confirming the stunt was a “tech showcase only.”
The gaming connections don’t end there: 3D map visuals simulating "external environmental conditions such as information for other vehicles, pedestrians, terrain, and weather" on the ultra-wide display are powered by the latest Unreal Engine 5.3.
The latest prototype previews the final production car’s sleek styling and is equipped with a range of high-tech driver AI assists. Sony Honda Mobility also confirmed a partnership with Microsoft to develop a “conversational personal agent” based on its Azure AI cloud technology. Technical specifications for the car remain unknown.
Polyphony partners with Sony Honda to help develop cars
Polyphony’s pioneering Vision GT program has seen several car manufacturers design concept cars exclusively for the Gran Turismo games. Now, the roles are reversed, with Polyphony helping develop vehicles with Sony Honda in a new partnership. Polyphony’s involvement isn’t clear in the vague announcement, however.
“The purpose of this partnership is to develop vehicles that fuse the virtual and the real, mainly in the area of human senses and emotions by combining Polyphony Digital’s simulation technology with the development of actual vehicles by SHM,” the announcement reads.
This won’t be the first time Polyphony has collaborated with the automotive industry to help design a car. The video game-inspired display inside the Nissan GT-R was designed in collaboration with Polyphony.
More recently, Polyphony created the high-tech dashboard display for the Nissan Hyper Force concept showcased at the Japan Mobility Show 2023.
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