After announcing Sony Honda Mobility as the name of their joint venture in June, the two companies today held a press conference announcing their first concrete plans for the collaboration.
For starters, Sony Honda Mobility (SHM) describes itself as a software-oriented mobility tech company whose purpose is to "move people, through the pursuit of innovation with diverse inspirations." PR speak aside, the most important takeaway from the press conference was that SHM plans to manufacture its first product at an unnamed Honda plant in North America.
Sony Honda Mobility also said that preorders for its first electric vehicle are planned to begin in the first half of 2025, with sales to follow before the end of 2025. The first deliveries are planned to start in the United States in spring 2026, followed by Japan in the second half of 2026. This will make the new EV a rare American-made export shipped to Japan, by a Japanese brand no less.
Another important part of SHM's business plan is that it will focus on online sales, "creating a direct and persistent network with customers." Furthermore, the company will also invite clients to take part in the product development process and provide them with personalized post-sales customer experience.
Beyond product sales and after-sales service, SHM will provide a new service "integrating digital and physical services to form deep and continuous relationships with customers across the entire value-chain."
Gallery: Sony Vision-S 02 SUV Concept
Executives described the upcoming EV as a high value-added model with lots of built-in new technology from Sony, including advanced software, entertainment systems and lots of sensors. The joint venture also said that its EVs are defined as the "3A's" for Autonomy, Augmentation and Affinity, each made possible by cutting-edge technologies.
When it comes to Autonomy, SHM aims to develop Level 3 automated drive under limited conditions and enable Level 2+ driver assistance in even more situations such as urban driving. The planned hardware for that will include high-performance system on a chip (SoC) with total processing power exceeding 800 TOPS (Tera Operations Per Second).
The Augmentation part refers to the introduction of a new Human Machine Interface (HMI) that will "provide a personalized in-car experience through cloud-service connectivity, realizing entertainment beyond driving." SHM aims to evolve the mobility space into entertainment and emotional space by seamlessly integrating real and virtual worlds, and exploring new entertainment possibilities through digital innovations such as the metaverse.
This will be made possible by high-performance integrated Electronic Control Units (ECUs) including two latest-generation SoCs for the Human Machine Interface/In-Vehicle Infotainment system combined with Automated Drive/Advanced Driving Assistant System.
As for the Affinity part, Sony Honda Mobility says it will build an open community not only for customers but also its automotive industry partners, leading players in other industries, and the creative community. The goal is to realize an interactive mobility society and create new entertainment experiences.