Sony's self-driving 'Sociable Cart' delivers mixed-reality inside, ads outside

The Sociable Cart SC-1 launches with two MR experiences.

Sony's Sociable Cart SC-1 -- the autonomous vehicle-cum-party bus designed for theme parks and golf courses -- has finally landed. Launching in Japan's Kanucha Bay Resort in Nago City, and the Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, the pilot scheme kicks off with a night-time "Moonlight Cruise", where passengers will be treated to magical night-time scenery and supernatural starry skies, all shown on the cart's internal high-resolution display. Another experience, "Night Aquarium," is set to follow soon.

As we've previously reported, each cart can carry five people in comfort, and relies on sensors to make its journey, thus eliminating the need for windows. This is how passengers can enjoy the immersive mixed reality experience inside the cart, leaving plenty of display space for advertising on the external screens. Sony -- in partnership with Yamaha -- has hinted at using AI to optimize these ads for passersby based on things like age and gender, but right now it seems to be focusing mainly on the passenger experience, and says it plans to roll out the Sociable Cart to other entertainment venues soon.