Mitsubishi recently showed the OMNI concept - a vehicle which quickly transforms into a mobile office at the CEATEC Expo. The OMNI Car steering wheel flips over to reveal a keyboard and the dashboard monitor that is used for the Global Positioning System (GPS) when the car is being driven, doubles as a computer monitor so the driver can check e-mail or search the Web.
A large monitor screen also pops up in the back seats, where occupants can watch movies or other content downloaded from the internet. The concept surrounds being able to quickly transform the Omni's usefulness as a vehicle into a number of other functions such as a mobile office, or a private theatre.
The OMNI Car is still in the trial phase, but some of the functions on display are close to commercialisation according to Mitsubishi.
Pioneer's booth at CEATEC featured the Air Navi car navigation system, developed in collaboration with KDDI and ready for a commercial launch in Japan in November this year. This system comes with a built-in telecommunications module, and uses KDDI's third generation (3G) high-speed data communications service that let users download information such as up-to-date road maps. City maps, games, music and other contents with large amounts of data will be available for downloading to SD memory cards at locations such as convenience stores. User need only install these contents into their Air Navi systems for instant access. Drivers who experience car trouble will be able to describe their situation and send their exact location to service stations, and a variety of security functions will also be provided. This kind of service takes the concept of the car navigation system to a new dimension.