TOKYO – Luxury car brand Lexus plans to fully automate its flagship LS sedan for highway driving conditions and will use artificial intelligence (AI) to help the car become completely automated with a decade.
The LS+ Concept was announced at the Tokyo Motor Show today and will feature what the Toyota luxury brand calls “Highway Teammate”, which the company says will “enable it to drive by itself on specific car-only highways, such as from the on-ramp to the exit of expressways”.
The technology will automate merging into highway traffic, lane keeping, speed adjustments, lane changes, overtaking and maintaining vehicle-to-vehicle distance.
Lexus says AI learning will help accelerate the shift to self-driving vehicles on regular roads during the first half of the 2020s.
The race towards self-driving cars is being led by Volvo, with Level 4 autonomous cars, which manage driving situations without human intervention, already on Swedish roads and trials currently underway in London and China.
Lexus says its focus is on eliminating traffic casualties and improving highway safety, as well as cutting driver fatigue and traffic congestion via the on-board system responses to traffic conditions.
The Japanese automaker has already included automated driving technologies into its safety management system and now says that it will use AI to learn from big data, including information on roads and surrounding areas and the LS+ will communicate with a data centre to update software, allowing new functions to be added.
The LS+ Concept has also had a design makeover and will be longer, wider and lower than the upcoming LS 500 production car.
*The author traveled to Tokyo courtesy of Lexus.
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