Sony and Honda really, truly are building a car together. The Sony Honda Mobility joint venture – or SHM, as the brand calls itself – unveiled an updated prototype of its Afeela electric sedan at the Consumer Electronics Show that looks closer to production than what we’ve seen before and made a number of engineering and technology partnership announcements. Most excitingly, Sony and Honda are joining forces with Gran Turismo studio Polyphony Digital to develop real-world cars and improve video game ones.
Honestly, this feels like a no-brainer to me. Sony has been playing up the PlayStation connection ever since debuting the Vision-S concept in 2020, and the latest Afeela was driven onto the stage using a PS5 controller. (SHM says that was just for a demo, don’t worry.) The car’s infotainment system is being developed with Epic Games and uses Unreal Engine 5, and SHM touts how it will have an unparalleled in-car gaming experience.
Talking about the partnership with Polyphony Digital, SHM said:
SHM is starting a partnership with Polyphony Digital in vehicle development, with the aim of creating new value with partners by sharing vehicle information. 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.
So much of new car development is already done using simulators, virtual reality and other digital technology, so this really isn’t a stretch to imagine. In addition to improving the engineering of real-world cars, this will also help Polyphony Digital engineer the virtual cars in Gran Turismo to act more realistic, and in turn be more fun to play.
Other than these little tidbits of info, we don’t know much about what the partnership will look like or how it will work. But Polyphony Digital did announce that the Afeela will be added to Gran Turismo 7 later this year, and the reveal video gives us a good look at the updated Afeela’s design.
The Afeela will be built in the U.S. at an unknown facility in Ohio, and Sony Honda Mobility says U.S. deliveries should start in 2026.
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