Sony and Yamaha Motor trundle out low-speed autonomous people mover


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Sony and Yamaha Motor trundle out low-speed autonomous people mover

Fans of Back to the Future will know that “your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has.” But indications are pretty good that slow-moving, self-driving pods that trundle us around are somewhere over the near horizon, if companies like Einride and Rinspeed have anything to say about it. Now Sony and Yamaha Motor have joined forces to create a self-driving people mover of their own, named the SC-1.

The SC in the name stands for Sociable Cart, and the vehicle merges Yamaha Motor’s autonomous driving technologies with Sony’s entertainment know-how to offer a fresh new take on urban mobility. The SC-1 will navigate using cameras, ultrasonic sensors and LiDAR.

Occupants will be treated to images of the local area thrown up on one 49-inch 4K monitor and five 55-inch 4K monitors mounted inside that have been captured by the vehicle’s cameras. Video and mixed reality content will also be on offer, and likely advertising too.

The all-electric vehicle will have a maximum speed of just 19 km/h (11.8 mph) and be capable of accommodating five passengers at a time. It features hydraulic disc brakes at all four wheels, double wishbone suspension to the front and link type suspension at the back.

The development project has been running since 2016, and the partnership intends to launch the SC-1 later this year in Japan, though it won’t be made available for general sale.

Project page: SC-1


Paul Ridden

While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won’t say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before hopping over to France for 10 years, where he started work for New Atlas in 2009. Now back in his native Blighty, he serves as Managing Editor in Europe.