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Sony And Honda Unveil A Prototype Of The 'Afeela' EV, Which Is Powered By Qualcomm Technology

Sony And Honda Unveil A Prototype Of The 'Afeela' EV, Which Is Powered By Qualcomm Technology
Sony revealed a working model of the new "Afeela" electric vehicles it will build with Honda, claiming that it will use its vast entertainment content to become a player in next-generation cars.
The Afeela, which has rounded corners and a sleek black roof, was shown off by Sony at the CES 2023 technology trade show in Las Vegas. Qualcomm Inc. technology, including its "Snapdragon" digital chassis, will be used in the car.
Sony's long-awaited foray into electric vehicles, announced in March with Honda, demonstrates how manufacturers are increasingly focused on the cockpit experience in cars, which offers the potential to sell content via subscription services cars, particularly as autonomous driving capabilities improve.
"In order to realise intelligent mobility, continuous software updates and high-performance computing are required," Yashuhide Mizuno, the chief executive of Sony Honda Mobility, told the trade show. "To that end, we will work closely with Qualcomm."
Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC, a new processor that handles both assisted driving and cockpit functions, including entertainment. Previously, those functions were handled on separate chips, and combining them can help reduce costs, according to a Qualcomm executive.
Sony is also looking to capitalize on its traditional sensor strengths. According to Mizuno, the Afeela will have more than 40 sensors. Epic Games, the creators of the "Fortnite" video game series, will use the "Unreal Engine" 3-D creation tool for the car.
The collaboration with Sony may allow Honda to accelerate its previously slow transition to electric vehicles. It has also struggled to gain traction in the luxury vehicle market with its Acura brand over the years. According to the venture, the new EV will be expensive.
The joint venture between Sony Group Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd aims to deliver its first electric vehicles in North America by early 2026.
Sony shares were up 1.6% in Tokyo trade, while Honda shares were unchanged. The Nikkei 225, the benchmark index, changed little.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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