Sony and Honda are officially teaming up to sell “high-value-added electric vehicles” and “provide services for mobility”.
The first vehicles from the Sony Honda Mobility Inc. joint venture will roll forth in 2025, with mobility services (likely ride-hailing or car-sharing) set to kick off at the same time.
The company will be headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and is backed by ¥10 billion in capital split evenly between the two companies.
Sony first signposted its automotive intentions with the Vision-S concept in 2020, and followed it with the Vision-S 02 SUV earlier in 2022. Its goals for the project have been vague since the start, however.
Honda looks set to take care of the manufacturing and servicing part of the joint venture, while Sony will take the lead on “the development and application of imaging, sensing, telecommunication, network and entertainment technologies”.
Reading between the lines, it appears Sony plans to leverage its expertise (and network of media companies) to develop the infotainment systems in the upcoming electric cars and mobility services. Preceded by the Vision-S, it also appears the technology required for semi- or fully-autonomous driving will come from Sony.
Both the Vision-S concepts featured huge technology suites to support Level 2 autonomous driving, including a combined 40 LiDAR, radar, camera, and ultrasonic sensors.
When it was revealed, Sony boasted the Vision-S can park itself, has adaptive cruise control, self-parking, and auto lane-changing. It also says the vehicle is capable of Level 4 autonomy with software updates.
“We are very pleased to have signed a joint venture agreement with Sony, which has strengths in advanced digital technology, and shares our desire to take on new challenges,” said Toshihiro Mibe, Honda Motor Co. CEO.
“Since its announcement in March, many people have expressed their expectations for this joint venture. At the new company, we will strive to create new value through the fusion brought about by the combination of our different industries, so please look forward to future developments,” he said.
Under the leadership of Mr Mibe, CEO since April 2021, Honda has committed to ending the use of internal combustion engines in its cars by 2040. He has also said the company is on the look out for new partnerships.
Sony isn’t the only technology company looking to push into the automotive space, with iPhone manufacturer Foxconn also announcing plans to build electric cars.