- Published: Wednesday, 25 October 2017 10:21
Lexus will put a self-driving car in your hands in less three years. Now you’ll finally have time to finish War and Peace
TOKYO, JAPAN — Weeks after launching its new LS flagship limo in Japan, Lexus is showing a prototype version of the car with self-driving capabilities at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show.
The aggressive-looking Lexus LS+ Concept is a marriage between Lexus’ future styling direction and its intention to launch a “Highway Teammate” autonomous driving mode in 2020. With the system in place, the car can take over all driving functions from the driver once it enters a highway.
It will make proposals about whether to overtake or take an exit, and only do so if the user gives his approval. Once the car leaves the highway, the system disengages and the human resumes control.
By the “early 2020s”, said Yoshioki Sawa, the president of Lexus International, the company will make an “Urban Teammate” function available. Cars equipped with this would be able to drive themselves on ordinary roads.
What’s not clear is what supporting infrastructure would be needed to enable the self-driving tech. Toyota and Lexus are gearing up to launch connected cars next year. They will be constantly in touch with data centres in order to gather and share information about the road network and driver behaviour.
Sawa said the LS+ Concept will be used to study how Lexus’ cars will make use of artificial intelligence and deep learning, in order to improve their decision-making abilities with time.
While Highway Teammate is a few years away from commercialisation, at its Tokyo Motor Show launch the LS+ Concept gave a simple demonstration of what it promises: it drove itself onto the stage, with no one behind the wheel. Self-driving technology, apparently, is also self-launching.