Business | Tokyo Motor Show 2019

Future Expo area a glimpse into tech of tomorrow

The 46th Tokyo Motor Show’s Future Expo area will give visitors a sneak peek at vehicles and technology that may affect their lives in the coming years across a variety of areas. The sectors represented include travel, city life, sports, tourism and sustainable energy, among others.

Motor show visitors will enter the futuristic expo through a tunnel, where virtual characters will greet and guide them along the way. Emerging from the tunnel, guests will see cast members aboard mobility devices of the near future.

Visitors can glimpse for themselves the possibilities travel holds. Representations of fully autonomous cars, expected to be standard by 2030, will be on display. Since driving will no longer be required, Panasonic Corp.’s SPACe_L concept shows how people could spend their increased leisure time while getting to their destinations. This car can change its interior based on various modes, such as “Business” or “Entertainment.” Nissan Motor Co. will exhibit its Energy Home system that integrates the Nissan LEAF auto and the home, allowing for energy to be shared between the two. Visitors can see how energy from the car and solar panels can power appliances.

Sports in the coming years will also see changes in the way they are broadcast, viewed and judged as communications technology evolves and data analysis becomes more advanced. NTT Corp. plans to showcase its Kirari! immersive telepresence technology, designed to transmit and reproduce the “entirety” of a sporting venue with added visual effects and enhancements, providing an ultra-realistic experience.

Fujitsu Ltd. aims to improve sports through information and communication technology. One system uses 3D sensing technology in its support system for gymnastics judges. Created to allow judges to more fairly and accurately assess competing athletes, it uses lasers to follow the athletes’ positions as they compete on various equipment.

The data from the lasers allows the system to render 3D models of competitors. Software then compares the images to a database of stored movements, identifying the move’s group and difficulty, allowing the system to produce a score based on how well the athlete matches the database.

Tourism can also expect to see major shifts, especially in rural areas. Coming technologies may include NEC’s facial recognition technology that will identify shoppers and process purchases based on consumer identification. East Japan Railway Co. hopes to expand its robots that can provide information in multiple languages to tourists from around the world.

Societies of the future are expected to be built with the support of space technology, and some of that will also be on display in the Future Expo exhibition. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Toyota Motor Corp. have developed a pressurized lunar rover. The rover, built using fuel cell technology, is expected to make further manned space explorations possible. Working in conjunction with JAXA, ispace is working on the research and development of a lunar probe. The probe is being built under the premise that it can research the possibilities developing the moon’s resources.

In addition to serious projects, there are also some lighthearted ones, including information about the G-Satellite project. Under the idea of promoting the 2020 Olympic Games, a small satellite containing two figurines from the “Mobile Suit Gundam” anime series, Gundam and Char’s Zaku, will be launched into space.

The satellite’s onboard camera will take pictures of the figures, as well as a tiny electronic bulletin board that will be used to share messages in multiple languages with athletes. The pictures will then be posted to social media. The expo plans to share information about this project, as well as hold panel discussions.

In addition to the very latest models, ideas and concept cars, the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show offers a truly unique and exciting preview into the possible technology, society and lives of the near future.

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