Seven issues I discovered concerning the Sony automotive whereas taking part in Gran Turismo inside one

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You know the way Sony’s making a electrical automotive with Honda that’s coming in 2026? Sony Honda Mobility is now letting journalists severely contact its Afeela prototype — and play with a Gran Turismo online game model of the automotive whereas sitting contained in the precise machine.

That’s why I drove to PlayStation’s North American headquarters final week, to strive an Afeela inside an Afeela and contact the issues we couldn’t contact earlier than. However I obtained a bit greater than I bargained for!

Right here’s my fast 50-second video of the expertise, and a brief record of the brand new issues I’ve discovered.

1) Don’t count on check drives anytime quickly.

No, earlier than you ask, they didn’t let me drive the precise Sony Honda automotive. I grabbed the wheel and pushed the pedals, however they did nothing — in sport or in any other case. “We are going to present journalists with the chance to check drive as quickly as doable consistent with the automobile improvement schedule,” reads a press release from Sony Honda Mobility through third-party spokesperson Glenn Mandel.

I’m listening to check drives aren’t coming this 12 months — subsequent 12 months is feasible — but it surely would possibly even be 2026 earlier than a journalist will get behind a working wheel.

2) There’s now a bodily button to allow you to open the door.

There was two methods to open the prototype’s door from exterior. You possibly can press a button within the Afeela’s smartphone app, or let a digicam system open it for you after it acknowledges your face. The most recent prototype has a 3rd methodology, although: a bodily button mounted beneath the window that may ship the identical sign. I pressed it, and it labored nice. Sony Honda remains to be deciding methods to authenticate you, although — reps couldn’t say if it will use a keyfob or some kind of digital automotive key like UWB to realize it’s you close by.

That’s me urgent the door opening button. Not clear what the strip above it’s.
Photograph by Sean Hollister / The Verge

3) The Afeela received’t let a driver see what’s on the passenger’s display.

The Afeela’s extra-wide display is one in every of its most putting options, however Sony Honda doesn’t plan to let the driving force see your entire factor whereas in movement. As an alternative, it’ll use some kind of privateness filter to wall off the passenger’s part of display to allow them to proceed to look at with out distracting the driving force.

“Specs for mass manufacturing haven’t but been determined, however we plan to put in a mechanism that can’t be seen from the driving force’s facet whereas driving in order that the driving force can drive safely,” SHM tells us.

4) There in all probability received’t be an precise PS5 inside.

I performed Gran Turismo 7 on the Afeela’s display, streaming wirelessly from a close-by PS5 utilizing Sony’s PS Distant Play app. There isn’t an precise PS5 console within the automotive, and there’s at present no plan to vary that. In January, Sony Honda Mobility president and COO Izumi Kawanishi advised me it was nonetheless undecided whether or not an actual PS5 would seem, however SHM is now “assuming distant play as a substitute of putting in a PS5 console.”

It’s additionally not clear for those who’ll be capable of use the Afeela’s personal steering wheels and pedals to play something.

5) The Afeela’s “private agent” would possibly immediate you with questions.

Sony Honda inked a take care of Microsoft final 12 months to create a “conversational private agent” for the automotive, and whereas there’s no agency particulars but on what that truly means, I’m listening to the aim is for the automotive’s AI to immediate you with questions after making an attempt to anticipate your wants.

“We’re contemplating the potential of two-way communication between folks and vehicles, and we’re additionally creating an interactive private agent utilizing Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service in collaboration with Microsoft,” writes SHM once I ask. “We consider that since it would develop relying on the consumer, we can talk based on the consumer’s preferences.”

6) There’s a superb motive Sony Honda didn’t allow us to contact the automotive at CES.

I’m going over this within the video, however many items of the prototype are at present simply mockups, not practical but. That features fancy issues just like the digital facet mirrors and rear view mirrors, but additionally mundane bits like flip sign stalks, solar visors, glove and storage compartments, and most elements of the touchscreen consumer expertise.

I might scroll round a map of Las Vegas, however couldn’t faucet on any of the pins; I might scrub by means of a taking part in video and sling it to the driving force’s or passenger’s facet of the display with a gesture, however couldn’t fireplace up plenty of different options on the touchscreen or within the companion smartphone app. I’m not dinging SHM, although; Sony Honda has been fully clear that it is a prototype, and has a pair extra years to determine all of it out.

7) The Afeela doesn’t essentially should be a rolling Sony advert.

Sure, the present prototype has a ridiculous digital billboard throughout its entrance bumper that shows Sony properties like Spider-Man and Horizon Forbidden West, and allows you to tune the automotive’s digital motor sound with noises impressed by Sony properties as much as and together with the Crunchyroll anime streaming service. However a spokesperson tells me Sony Honda is trying to accomplice with non-Sony entities too — and I used to be in a position to show any textual content I preferred on the bumper display simply by typing it into the telephone app.

The prototype Afeela’s display can show textual content of your alternative.
Photograph by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I selected “The Verge,” in fact.