Sony and Yamaha’s Self-Driving Mixed Reality “Sociable Cart” Launching this November
Sony’s Sociable Cart SC-1, developed in collaboration with Yamaha, is finally here. It is an autonomous vehicle and party bus in one and has been developed for uses in golf courses, theme parks and other similar venues. The machine rolled out of the production lines early this year but passengers will only be able to embark on their maiden voyage from November.
The self-driving box launches in Kanucha Bay Resort in Nago City and in the Botanical Garden in Okinawa City in Japan. The pilot experience will launch a night-time “Moonlight Cruise” in which passengers will get to experience some magical night-time scenery as well as supernatural starry skies. All of this will be displayed in the cart’s internal high-resolution display. This inaugural experience will soon be followed with a “Night Aquarium” experience.
During the launch, the first sets of passengers will experience one of the two “Moonlight Cruise” programs. The new technological experience is targeting guests such as amusement park patrons, shoppers and others with a unique and immersive tour experience.
The Sociable SC-1 does not have any windows. Users are instead treated to a series of image sensors that work with more strength than the human eye to render the surrounding environment on monitors and in high definition. All the experiences that users see will be extraordinary and they will not be via the window glass. The sensors and displays on the Sociable Sc-1 allows passengers on the tour bus to experiences the world with incredible clarity, even during the night. The self-driving box does not even have headlights.
It is something of a futuristic trolley that users can board to get from one point to another in various kinds of venues. The initial trials of the self-driving box will emphasize its entertainment aspect but there is also the transportation aspect which may in the future be its primary function.
On top of allowing viewers to view the world in a completely new way, the HD monitors in the self-driving cart also feature mixed reality software developed by Sony. The monitors in the Sociable SC-1 display interactive content and overlay all sorts of digital features onto the outside environment. A user could, for example, pass by a botanical plant in a park and the monitor will display fun facts about the plant.
Every cart in the SC-1 can comfortably carry a maximum of five people and uses sensors to make the journey thereby removing the need for windows. Passengers will enjoy the mixed reality experience in this manner. This leaves lots of advertising space on the external screens of the social cart.
The mixed reality cart could therefore be used as a rolling billboard in the future where the vehicle will be used in transportation. Sony has in the past stated that the mobile social cart could also be used in gathering information from the people standing outside it and this information can subsequently be used in curating custom ads and other types of interactive content. The entertainment aspect is a very interesting use-case. Japanese visitors at the resort and botanical garden will get their first opportunity to experience this mixed reality contraption on Nov. 1.