Japanese Automakers Embrace Generative AI for Innovative Vehicle Design


  • Japanese automakers Honda, Sony Honda Mobility (SHM), and Subaru are embracing generative AI for vehicle design.
  • Honda introduced the Sustaina-C Concept, a compact EV influenced by image-generative AI, at the Japan Mobility Show.
  • Generative AI has rapidly evolved since the second half of 2022, pushing the boundaries of design possibilities.
  • Honda showcased Stable Diffusion, an AI tool by Stability AI, allowing attendees to design vehicles on smartphones.
  • Toyota is also exploring image-generative AI for car design, while Subaru restricts its usage.
  • Sony Honda Mobility, a joint venture, plans to use large language models (LLM) of generative AI for autonomous driving and ADAS in the EV Afeela.
  • The Afeela is set to launch in 2025, targeting North American markets in spring 2026.
  • Integrating LLM into autonomous driving is expected to enhance software development efficiency.

Main AI News:

In the ever-evolving landscape of the automotive industry, Japanese car manufacturers are harnessing the power of generative AI to redefine the way they conceive and create their vehicles. Companies such as Honda, Sony Honda Mobility (SHM), and Subaru are leading the charge in adopting this cutting-edge technology.

Honda, for instance, recently unveiled the Sustaina-C Concept, a compact electric vehicle (EV), at the Japan Mobility Show. Notably, the design process for this groundbreaking concept was significantly influenced by image-generative AI. While not yet employed for official proposals, this technology has become a critical tool in helping designers shape their ideas.

The designer behind the Sustaina-C Concept noted the remarkable evolution of generative AI, particularly in the latter half of 2022. It appears that the technology has reached a point akin to a singularity, where its capabilities have grown exponentially.

At the mobility show, Honda took innovation a step further by inviting attendees to experiment with Stable Diffusion, an image-generative AI tool developed by the startup Stability AI. This tool allowed users to design vehicles directly on their smartphones. While the process differed from traditional car design, it served as a compelling demonstration of how generative AI can significantly reduce the time required for design iterations.

Toyota is also keen on tapping into the potential of image-generative AI tools for designing their automobiles. Meanwhile, Subaru has opted for a more cautious approach, limiting the adoption of AI in specific departments to mitigate any potential infringements arising from the content generated by AI.

Sony Honda Mobility, a collaborative effort between Honda and Sony, is taking a bold step by utilizing a large language model (LLM) powered by generative AI. Their aim is to develop an autonomous driving system and an advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for the EV Afeela.

Sony Honda Mobility plans to launch the Afeela in 2025, with deliveries slated to begin in North America in spring 2026. The car’s ADAS and autonomous driving systems will rely on a wealth of data gathered through sensors, cameras, and telecommunication systems. The immediate processing of this data is crucial for predicting the movements of nearby vehicles and pedestrians.

Integrating LLM into machine learning for autonomous driving is expected to significantly enhance software development efficiency. This strategic move will empower Sony Honda Mobility, even as it enters the battery EV market relatively late, to expedite development, reduce time-to-break-even, and establish a firm foothold in the industry’s ever-competitive landscape.


The integration of generative AI in Japanese car manufacturing signifies a significant leap in innovation. This adoption not only expedites the design process but also positions these automakers to compete more effectively in the rapidly evolving EV market. It promises to reduce development time and establish a strong foothold in the industry’s future landscape.