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Sony's autonomous concept would make a great party bus

It manages to fit every new automotive and tech buzzword into one vehicle.
Timothy J. Seppala, @timseppala
November 3, 2017
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Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sony's concept vehicle is all about entertainment on the go. Naturally. Its SC-1 (translated) is more or less a shuttle outfitted with high-res image sensors, displays, AI, 5G data connectivity via Docomo, alternative fuels, LIDAR and a bevy of ultrasonics onboard. It can be operated autonomously, or driven, and Sony claims that the image sensors placed around the car are sensitive enough (and the displays inside high-quality enough) that you could drive the buggy at night without headlamps.

"Since the image sensor captures the surroundings, the window becomes unnecessary, and by placing a high-definition display in that area instead, you can display various images to people around the vehicle." Sounds like a perfect way to add in face scanning to deliver highly personalized ads to everyone in the car.

Sony is going one step further than that even, and will use mixed reality to overlay CGI on the windows "so that movement itself can be enjoyed more." Mother nature could use a digital facelift, to be sure. The chances of something like this actually making it out on the open road anytime soon are probably pretty slim, but perhaps seeing it idling at an amusement park (oh hi, Epcot Center) wouldn't be too farfetched. Sony says that it's been touring the SC-1 around the Okinawa Science and Technology Graduate University College since September.

A few years ago, Mercedes showed off something similar with its silver bean-like F 015 concept. That featured wood floors, leather egg-shaped lounge chairs and 4K touchscreen displays everywhere you'd look. Sony, it seems, just took that idea to the next logical step.

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