Sony and Yamaha's self-driving 'social cart' will roll out this November

It meanders on its own accord and shows passengers the world in a whole different light.

Sean Szymkowski
It all started with Gran Turismo. From those early PlayStation days, Sean was drawn to anything with four wheels. Prior to joining the Roadshow team, he was a freelance contributor for Motor Authority, The Car Connection and Green Car Reports. As for what's in the garage, Sean owns a 2016 Chevrolet SS, and yes, it has Holden badges.
Sean Szymkowski
2 min read
Sony SC-1 Sociable Cart
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Sony SC-1 Sociable Cart

No windows, just screens.


Humans aren't used to viewing the world through Sony and Yamaha's Sociable Cart SC-1 self-driving box. The wild machine, no longer a concept, bowed as a production vehicle earlier this year, but Sony said it's ready to take passengers on its maiden voyage next month.

The two Japanese companies will unleash the SC-1 at the Okinawa Prefecture's Kanucha Bay Resort in Nago City, and the Southeast Botanical Garden in Okinawa City, according to a Thursday announcement. There, the first passengers will be treated to one of two "Moonlight Cruise" programs. If you missed the original details on this entertainment box on wheels, the technology is meant to provide amusement park patrons, shoppers and any other guest of a location with a different tour experience.

You won't find windows aboard the SC-1. Instead, image sensors that operate with more strength than the human eye relay the surrounding environment in high definition on monitors. Everything riders see is far more than meets the eye, and it isn't through a piece of window glass. These displays and sensors also allow passengers to see the world in total clarity even at night. The mobility box doesn't even sport headlights.

Think of this as a futuristic trolley people can climb aboard to get from point A to point B at all sorts of places. These first trials will play up the entertainment aspect of the transportation, however.

Aside from showing the world in a new way, the HD monitors also feature Sony-developed mixed-reality software. Thus, the monitors will display interactive content and overlay the outside world with all sorts of features. Perhaps while passing a particular plant in the botanical garden, the monitor will provide fun facts about it, for example.

It may also serve as a rolling billboard in the future for those using it as mere transportation. Sony previously mentioned the vehicle can gather actually gather info from people standing outside the SC-1 to curate custom ads and other interactive content. The entertainment aspect sounds cool. The ads? Not so much. Japanese guests at the resort and botanical garden will have their first crack at the thing on Nov. 1.

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