Business / Tech

Sony develops remote-driven vehicle that displays ads tailored to passers-by

Kyodo

Sony Corp. has developed a vehicle that can be driven remotely using advanced sensor technology and artificial intelligence to capture a 360-degree image of its surroundings, the electronics maker said Tuesday.

The SC-1, which is about 3 meters long, a little under 2 meters tall and accommodates three passengers, is not designed for road use but can transport people at leisure facilities such as golf courses and shopping malls.

It features five sensors used in high-end digital cameras to relay imagery back to a controller, who can drive the vehicle from afar to transport guests or customers.

It can also use artificial intelligence to distinguish the age and gender of people walking nearby, to show demographic-specific advertisements on the 55-inch ultra-high definition 4K displays on each of its four sides — for example, running an ad for diapers when near young parents with a baby, a company official said.

Passengers can also drive the vehicle themselves using an onboard controller and display. The interior display is capable of augmented reality, superimposing computer generated dinosaurs onto the fairway as golfers travel to the next hole, for instance.

A prototype is currently being tested at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University. The company official declined to comment on a timeline for wider use.