Japan and gadgets go hand in hand, so it's no wonder that car technology figures prominently in automaker displays at the 2007 Tokyo auto show. Both Honda and Volkswagen put up exhibits showing their latest-generation navigation systems, which are generally available as in-dash options in their cars. Both companies embrace the new trend of hard drive-based navigation. These types of systems offer faster data access than DVD-based systems, and there is usually a bit of space left over for music storage. Honda uses a 40GB drive, the largest we've heard of as a factory install, while the Volkswagen system uses a 30GB drive.
The Honda system also incorporates a rearview camera, Bluetooth cell phone integration, and a TV tuner. In Japan, Honda has a service called Internavi Premium Club, which gives additional features to the nav system, such as map updates, weather, and live traffic. The Volkswagen system also has a rearview camera, TV tuner, and live traffic. From what we saw on the show floor, the maps look very good on the Volkswagen system. As these are factory options, we should see them show up in the U.S., although probably missing features such as the TV tuner.