Lexus has unveiled a tantalising concept for its flagship LS sedan featuring automated driving technologies.
The LS+ Concept adopts "Highway Teammate" technologies that enable it to drive by itself on specific car-only highways, such as from the on-ramp to the exit of expressways.
As a vision for the near future, the LS+ Concept fully automates nearly all driving operations in these conditions, including merging into highway traffic, lane keeping, speed adjustments, lane changes, overtaking and maintaining vehicle-to-vehicle distance.
Lexus used the world premiere of the LS+ Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show to announce development of these advanced technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), was occurring with an eye towards full application in 2020.
Lexus is also aiming to continue updating AI learning functions to achieve a higher level of autonomy during the first half of the 2020s with vehicles capable of automated driving on regular roads.
The Lexus "Highway Teammate" philosophy aims to improve highway safety, reduce driver fatigue and lower the amount of traffic congestion through appropriate recognition, judgment and operation by on-board systems in response to traffic conditions.
The company's ultimate aim is to eliminate traffic casualties so that all people can enjoy safe and smooth mobility and the fun of driving.
Symbolising the foresight of Lexus, the LS+ Concept features advanced yet dignified styling as well as its state-of-the-art technologies.
It points to the future image of the LS flagship sedan and indicates the direction of next-generation Lexus design based on the L-finesse design philosophy.
Marginally longer, wider and lower than the upcoming LS 500 production car, it features a boldly evolved spindle grille with a large shutter that contributes to both improved cooling and enhanced aerodynamic performance.
Distinctive Lexus foresight is expressed through advances such as partly laser-lit headlamps and rear combination lamps, as well as through electronic side mirrors.
Lexus has been actively introducing automated driving technologies based on its Integrated Safety Management Concept, integrating a vehicle's individual safety technologies and systems to provide a more-advanced level of support to drivers in all driving situations.
A high level of automated driving is made possible through AI that learns from big data, including information on roads and surrounding areas.
The LS+ Concept can communicate with a data centre to update software, allowing new functions to be added.