LG has never been a company to resist innovation. Whether through its rollable phones, market-leading TVs or indoor gardening fridges, the South Korean giant has often led from the front when it comes to developing consumer tech that's... out there.
That philosophy showed no signs of slowing at CES 2022, as LG lifted the lid on one of its most curious concepts yet – an autonomous home on wheels.
The aptly-named LG Omnipod is, according to the company, a “mobility concept solution that blurs the distinction between home and car,” and a rather dramatic expansion on LG’s Connected Car vision (which itself was unveiled at CES 2022).
The concept vehicle took center stage at LG's CES 2022 press conference - where CEO William (Joo Wan) Cho of LG Electronics entered his virtual press conference in a (we suspect) mock-up version of the car.
Better thought of as a miniaturized private jet cabin, the LG Omnipod is intended to be an “on-the-road extension of one's personal living space,” boasting in-vehicle appliances like fridges and retractable furniture alongside a sprawling “Meta Environment” display system – which we can only presume to mean a set of adaptive interior screens mimicking an outside environment of the occupant’s choice.
Then (of course?) there’s the AI Concierge Service, which LG envisions will see virtual humans (read: avatars) waiting on the whims of those inside the cabin (we're thinking light, temperature, noise and speed assistance, here).
Having said that, the menu screen visible in the image above suggests these AI companions will also be able to order food to your Omnipod, so we're sure they'll be capable of plenty more functions that we can't quite imagine just yet (maybe they can whip up the chicken teriyaki themselves, or slow down enough to let a delivery driver throw a meal through the window?).
The Omnipod was presented in the press conference in the form of a mobile office during the day, that could turn into cinema to relax, and then – inexplicably – transform once again into a place where a dress rises out of the side pod, allowing you to go and make a music video with Reah, the 'virtual influencer' LG has created.
Following that, the Omnipod was shown taking its occupants to a campsite, whereupon it was folded around a fire... at this point, we got a little lost as to what was happening.
This is the future as imagined by LG, people.
Further details about the LG Omnipod are, as you’d expect, thin on the ground at this stage. The mobility concept remains just that, and it’s unlikely we’ll get a more comprehensive look at the brand’s chrome-encased vision of the future for some time (if ever).
The most comparable project we’ve seen elsewhere is Heatherwick Studios’ Airo (opens in new tab) – a similarly-autonomous cabin currently in development for nascent Chinese EV manufacturer IM Motors – which is set to enter production in 2023.
LG’s Omnipod appears to have leapfrogged a few crucial steps, mind – we can't help but feel as though the virtual butler is a prime example of running before you can walk – but it’s pleasing to see a consumer tech heavyweight like LG giant engaging with an automotive industry set to change dramatically in more ways than one in the coming years.