Future of driving on show in Tokyo as digital space goes mobile

Toyota’s three-seater exoskeleton car and an electric vehicle with touchscreens that turn it into a “digital space” are among the concept models that will be on display at the Tokyo Motor Show this week.

The biennial event will also focus on self-driving cars and the latest environmental technology as firms look to tap into growing demand for green vehicles, seen as the next evolution in the global automotive industry.

The show’s 44th edition, which opens today and runs until November 8, will feature 160 exhibitors including global car giants and parts suppliers from a dozen countries.

It starts a week after Honda said it would put a commercialised self-driving car on the road by 2020, challenging rivals Toyota and Nissan, which are also betting on the future of vehicles that can drive themselves.

Google has been testing self-driving cars in Silicon Valley, as have US-based Tesla and General Motors, while Nissan has vowed to put an experimental automated car on Japan’s roads as soon as next year.

At the show, Nissan, a leader in electric vehicles (EV), will show off an EV concept car without knobs and buttons, replaced by tablet-style touchscreens featuring controls and maps on a white instrument panel.

Music, video games and movies can also be played on the screens.

“The car becomes a digital space when it’s parked,” said the Nissan product planning general manager Hidemi Sasaki.

Toyota and Honda will also exhibit their latest fuel-cell offerings, after Toyota last year started selling the world’s first mass market fuel-cell car in Japan.


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