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updated: 10/7/2013 7:23 AM

Carmakers at center stage at tech trade show in Japan

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  • An event staff cleans a Honda Motor Co.'s Micro Commuter prototype electric vehicle during the annual CEATEC advanced technologies exhibition in Chiba near Tokyo. By connecting the driver's smartphone to the dashboard, he or she can control the home electronics as television sets, fans, and electric lights while driving the vehicle.

      An event staff cleans a Honda Motor Co.'s Micro Commuter prototype electric vehicle during the annual CEATEC advanced technologies exhibition in Chiba near Tokyo. By connecting the driver's smartphone to the dashboard, he or she can control the home electronics as television sets, fans, and electric lights while driving the vehicle.
    Associated Press

 
The Yomiuri Shimbun

CEATEC Japan 2013, a trade show displaying state-of-the-art information technology devices and digital home appliances, began in Chiba, Japan, on Tuesday. Honda Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp., participating for the first time this year, were among four major car manufacturers that showcased next-generation cars with cutting-edge information technology.

These companies have strengthened their presence at the exhibition while home appliance makers, a mainstay of past CEATEC shows, struggle with a slump in the television business.

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Nissan Motor Co.'s autonomous car, shown for the first time in Japan, attracted attention from the media at Monday's press preview. A 80-meter-long (about 87 yard), 45-meter-wide course simulating city streets was set up at the venue, and the operation of an autonomous car based on the company's Leaf electric vehicle was demonstrated.

According to Nissan, the autonomous car is able to enter an intersection without traffic signals and pass a parked car by checking its surroundings using 10 cameras and sensors.

Toyota Motor Corp. displayed an ultracompact single passenger electric vehicle, and Honda presented a small automatic vehicle for indoor use.

Carmakers have begun participating in the event because computerized control and information technology is essential for them to enhance the safety and comfort of their vehicles.

It is estimated that electric parts will account for 40 percent of automobile production costs in 2015, compared with 20 percent to 30 percent today. Shigeki Tomoyama, a Toyota managing officer, said, "It is very important to cooperate with the information technology business."

Other automotive technology on display included a sleep alarm for drivers from Fujitsu Ltd. A sensor worn on a driver's ear monitors the person's pulse and causes a smartphone to sound an alarm if sleepiness is detected.

Pioneer Corp. has developed a system to analyze data collected from vehicles with car navigation systems, sending information such as traffic congestion alerts to smartphones in cooperation with NTT Docomo Inc.

Meanwhile, in the field of digital home appliances, Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. showcased a system to reduce electricity use at home.

Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. displayed the latest versions of their ultrahigh-definition 4K televisions.

The exhibition is open to the public from Wednesday to Saturday, and 587 domestic and foreign companies and groups are participating in the event. About 200,000 visitors are expected at the exhibit.

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