You don’t need to always wear a VR headset to enjoy the Metaverse, especially if you can just stay in your self-driving car and be at your office even while on your way to your vacation.
CES 2022 was the first time in two years that the annual event returned to face-to-face interactions. Almost ironically, a lot of the showcases there revolved around virtual experiences, particularly the kind that the Metaverse movement is trying to push. Being physically present in one place while also virtually experiencing a different location at the same time is one of the biggest premises of this convergence of technologies, but most of those involve wearing some form of headset, be it VR goggles or more stylish AR glasses. The Metaverse isn’t limited to that, of course, and LG’s vision of the future of mobility tries to show how you can relax or even work while in transit to a completely different location.
Like many futuristic car concepts, LG’s OMNIPOD is filled with screens. Not just the dash or front panels, mind, but even the sides and the ceiling of the vehicle. LG calls it an “expansive tunnel screen” or “Meta-environment screen,” and it’s the part of the car then tries to immerse the rider or riders in a virtual environment or, alternatively, give them a peek of the outside world without opening any windows.
The car isn’t just about displaying videos or virtual offices, though. Every part of the vehicle is designed to make a person feel like they’re in anything but a moving car. There’s a modular mini-fridge, for example, that even includes an induction range on top for cooking on the go. The spacious cabin of the OMNIPOD can be an office space or a recording studio, depending on your need at the moment. And, of course, the car’s screens will change to create a virtual environment that makes you feel as if you’re really at work, perhaps to help boost your productivity.
Given the events of the past two years, there are also elements of sanitation in this moving living space. An “Air Shower,” for example, blasts passengers with negatively ionized air to remove dust and germs, while an LG Styler can hold your coats and shoes to sanitize them and keep them clean until you need to wear them again. And after each trip, the car’s virtual assistant Reah will flood the cabin with UV light and get robot vacuums rolling to prepare for its next use.
While some of these technologies might already be available today, all these futuristic conveniences hinge on electric vehicles perfecting their self-driving capabilities. The LG OMNIPOD does have the option of manual driving, but without the typical steering wheel and controls anyway. It’s not going to replace RVs and cabins on wheels, especially with its lack of bathrooms and kitchens, but LG’s vision of future mobility does interesting points and questions, like how humans of the future might find it harder to be physically social when they don’t even have to step out of their cars most of the time.