Sony and Yamaha Join Hands to Launch Autonomous Vehicles


Sony Corporation announced today the joint development with Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd., of the SC-1 Sociable Cart, a vehicle that delivers a new mobility experience. Sony and Yamaha Motor plan to launch services using this model in Japan in fiscal 2019.

The SC-1 is designed to transform what was a mere means of mobility into an all-new opportunity for entertainment. Sony and Yamaha Motor will deploy it to provide fun new diversions at venues such as golf courses, amusement parks, and commercial facilities.

Before this collaboration, Sony and Kanucha Bay Resort Co. Ltd. joined forces to use the SC-1 to provide Moonlight Cruise, in the year 2018. It was a limited-time ride experience service where customers were able to enjoy the video and audio entertainment powered by augmented reality (AR) projected against the backdrop of night scenes at a golf course in Okinawa.

The Moonlight Cruise proved to a prototype for the latest vehicle. The new model has increased passenger capacity (up from three to five), extended run time thanks to its replaceable batteries, a broader front and rear scope of view thanks to additional image sensors, an innovative vehicle design, a more comfortable ride thanks to the optimization of the base vehicle, and other improvements.

Additionally, the ultra-high sensitivity characteristics of the image sensors and the high-resolution display installed inside the vehicle allow passengers to see their surroundings at night even without any headlights. Also, in addition to normal operation by the passengers, the SC-1 can be operated remotely by someone viewing the images via the cloud.

Here are some nerdy details about the vehicle:

There’s seating for up to five people within the SC-1 Sociable Cart, which is 3135mm long, 1306mm wide and 1830mm tall. Powered by a DC motor, the SC-1 has a top speed of 19km/h. The vehicle features exterior cameras, LiDAR, and ultrasonic sensors, as well as double wishbone suspension up front, four-wheel disc brakes, and a lithium-polymer battery pack.

The windowless vehicle instead features one 49-inch 4K monitor in its cabin. It also has four 55-inch 4K screens mounted to its exterior. With the help of its array of external cameras, the SC-1 Sociable Cart can play video and route guidance in a mixed reality format on its internal and external screens.

Moreover, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors, it can determine the age and gender of people inside and outside the vehicle to customize advertising, entertainment, and news displays.

Sony and Yamaha Motor plan to launch services using the new SC-1 in Japan this year, though you won’t be able to buy it since it’s not available to the general public. But it could show up at a theme park near you pretty soon.

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