Lexus LS+ Concept previews fully autonomous urban driving within 10 years

Lexus LS+ concept illustrates autonomous tech due in 2020 flagship

The Lexus LS+ concept has been unveiled at the Tokyo motor show, pointing the way towards the firm launching a raft of new autonomous technology for its flagship vehicle in around 2020.

Lexus says the concept fully automates almost all driving operations in these conditions, including merging into highway traffic, lane keeping, speed adjustments, lane changes, overtaking and maintaining vehicle-to-vehicle distance.

Highway Mate technology will initially be configured to operate in highway driving conditions, something auto makers consider a relatively easy driverless environment due to predictable traffic, clean road surfaces, and good lane markings.

Behind the updated grille there's a large grille shutter that contributes to both improved cooling and enhanced aerodynamic performance. The artificial intelligence on board, meanwhile, learns from big data, including information on roads and surrounding areas. The Highway Teammate system, previewed at the previous Tokyo show, takes complete care of driving - as the name suggests - on the highway, from entrance ramp to exit ramp.

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The tech will support automated merging, lane changes, and diverging and will be able to keep the vehicle in its lane and maintain a specific distance from the vehicle in front.

Although the technology has similarities to systems already available from other manufacturers, Lexus president Yoshihiro Sawa said that the technology would break new ground, adding: "This will allow Lexus to deliver cars that can be driven even more safely and comfortably".

On-board artificial intelligence means the vehicle is always learning about its surroundings, and over-the-air updates will allow owners to keep their cars updated without visiting a dealer. The Lexus LS+ concept also features partly laser-lit headlamps and rear combination lamps, and electronic side mirrors.

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