Microsoft and Sony partnering on an AI-powered car assistant is the strangest news to come out of CES this week

Image of Microsoft partnering with the Sony Honda Mobility
Microsoft crashed the Sony CES conference to show the world who the leader is in AI. (Image credit: Sony)

What you need to know

  • Sony and Honda have created an electric vehicle company called Mobility.
  • The car on stage is called the Afeela and has some exciting future-facing features.
  • Microsoft was announced as the partner for the Sony Honda Mobility company to power the AI assistant.

As console warriors continue to wage war over which video game platform holder is going to go third party first, Microsoft and Sony have secretly been continuing business as usual. In what looks like a ceremonial bending of the knee by Sony to Microsoft, the decision to partner with the rival company for AI shows that Microsoft is seen by its peers as the de facto AI option in 2024. 

As we covered earlier this week, ChatGPT is helping Volkswagon with its upcoming AI integrations, but as we all know OpenAI's ChatGPT and Microsoft's Copilot are two sides of the same coin. But time for the big questions, what is Sony Honda Mobility and why is Microsoft partnering on the project such a big deal? 

What is Sony Honda Mobility?

The Sony Honda Mobility Afeela looks to bridge the gap between a car and entertainment experience.  (Image credit: Sony)

If you don't know what Sony Honda Mobility is, don't worry — I didn't either. You can check out more information on it at the Sony Honda Mobility's site or check out the YouTube video below. Basically, Sony and Honda have partnered to make an electric vehicle company that they hope will change the way we think about mobility and allow your vehicle to not only transport you from location to location but also to other worlds through entertainment and gaming. 

Why is Microsoft partnering with Sony and Honda on AI in cars a big deal?

If there has been one common thread through CES 2024 it has been the advent of AI; Microsoft is not only at the center of AI but the driving force and leader of the advancing technology. From Microsoft announcing the new Copilot button on Windows 11 keyboards to new APUs and chips coming with NPUs to assist with on-hardware AI computing, Microsoft seems to be driving innovation and change from hardware manufacturers the globe over.

Anybody who has been following along with the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard and King over the last 2 years would know that Sony and Microsoft likely have a rocky relationship, so the fact that Sony still went to Microsoft to power AI for the Sony Honda Mobility company shows that Microsoft has an immense lead over its competitors in the AI space — even fierce rivals have to bend the knee to Microsoft. This is reminiscent of the Sony deal with Microsoft a few years ago for Azure resources, and highlights that sometimes business is just business. 

Microsoft's Jessica Hawk joined Sony on the stage for the Sony CES briefing and while there were a lot of promises of what Microsoft AI can do, the main focus was on AI safety and Azure resources to scale for the Sony Honda Mobility vehicles going forward. 

We aren't sure what the Microsoft-powered AI assistant will be like once the Sony Honda Mobility Afeela hits the market, so for now we will have to keep waiting for more updates.

What do you think about Microsoft partnering with Sony and Honda for their electric vehicle company? Do you think this shows that Microsoft is the indisputable frontrunner in AI? Let us know in the comments. 

Colton Stradling

Colton is a seasoned cybersecurity professional that wants to share his love of technology with the Windows Central audience. When he isn’t assisting in defending companies from the newest zero-days or sharing his thoughts through his articles, he loves to spend time with his family and play video games on PC and Xbox. Colton focuses on buying guides, PCs, and devices and is always happy to have a conversation about emerging tech and gaming news.