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Sony and Honda roll out Afeela EV prototype

The EV will use technology from hardware maker Qualcomm Inc, including its 'Snapdragon' digital chassis

Japan’s Sony has unveiled a prototype of the new Afeela electric vehicles it will build together with Honda as it looks to become a player in next-generation cars.

Sony gave a glimpse of the Afeela at the CES 2023 technology trade show in Las Vegas. The car will use technology from hardware maker Qualcomm Inc, including its “Snapdragon” digital chassis.

“In order to realise intelligent mobility, continuous software updates and high-performance computing are required,” Yashuhide Mizuno, chief executive of Sony Honda Mobility, told the trade show. “To that end, we will work closely with Qualcomm.”

Qualcomm on Wednesday launched a new processor, the Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC, that handles both assisted driving and cockpit functions, including entertainment. Previously those functions were handled on different chips, and bringing them together can help bring down costs, a Qualcomm executive told Reuters.

Sony is also looking to harness its traditional strengths in sensors. The Afeela will be equipped with more than 40 sensors, Mizuno said. The car will use the “Unreal Engine” 3-D creation tool from Epic Games, the maker of the “Fortnite” series of games.

For Honda, the venture with Sony may allow it to speed up what has so far been a slow shift to electric. It has also struggled over the years to make gains in the luxury vehicle market with its Acura brand.

The new EV will be priced at a premium, the venture has said, with the first electric vehicles scheduled to be delivered by early 2026 in North America.

Shares of Sony were up 1.6 percent in Tokyo trade, while Honda shares were flat. The benchmark Nikkei 225 was little changed.