It seems like Sony and Honda’s plan to start a new car manufacturer is ticking along nicely. Having unveiled the Afeela Prototype at last year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES), the two companies have taken the 2024 iteration of the tech conference to unveil an updated version. Oh, and now they’ve roped the brains behind Gran Turismo in to help make it a reality.
Polyphony Digital, creators of the iconic PlayStation franchise, has been brought into the Afeela project, which is on course to make production in 2026. What exactly its input to development will remain to be seen, though Sony Honda Mobility (SMH) has said it combines the games studio’s “simulation technology with the actual development of actual vehicles by SMH.”
Vague but interesting. More exciting for the near future, though, is that the Afeela will be arriving in Gran Turismo 7 as a free update later in the year. Amusingly, the real car was brought onto the CES stage with a PlayStation 5 DualSense controller – which sadly will not be possible when the real production car comes.
It’s not the first time that Polyphony has had a hand in a real car, mind you. Infamously, it developed the infotainment and telemetry software for the R35 Nissan GT-R and, more recently, helped with the instrument displays for the manufacturer’s Hyper Force concept.
Despite that, SHM won’t be handing over the reins of the software to the Gran Turismo creators. Rather, it’s working with Epic Games – you know, the Fortnite people – using its Unreal Engine 5 as a base.
As you may expect, your passengers will be able to take advantage of some pretty powerful gaming hardware, albeit sadly, it stops short of going full Pimp My Ride without a built-in PS5.
Oh, and of course, the Afeela will utilize built-in AI. Rather than going the ChatGPT route, though, SMH is working with Microsoft to integrate its Azure OpenAI service to develop “a conversational, personal agent.”