Look beyond the bold styling, which Lexus says is an indication of what to expect from the next-generation of LS, and you’ll come across a range of automated driving technology called Highway Teammate, which Lexus says is being developed for everyone to enjoy safe, smooth and untethered mobility.
For Japan and US markets Highway Teammate will know when an LS+ joins – or leaves – a motorway slip road and enters a major vehicle-only road. Once on such a road the technology will offer a range of driver assistance, including lane assist, automatic lane keeping and overtaking, along with the ability to maintain the safest distance between all the vehicles around it. LS+ will also be able to ‘talk’ to other cars and offer a pre-warning to the driver of any potential dangers ahead.
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At this stage the LS+ and Highway Teammate are only designed to make suggestions rather than take autonomous control of the vehicle, with the driver always able to overrule any decision the car suggests. Ultimately it’s a level 3 autonomy system, which will allow Lexus to reach Level 4 autonomy on all roads, including residential and commercial areas by the early 2020s.
LS+ also showcases the latest three-dimensional artificial intelligence software, that monitors and processes data and learns the road conditions ahead. It’s an evolution of a system parent company Toyota is already using.
In terms of powertrains, expect the LS+ to be the first Lexus commercially available to the public that will be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell when it goes on sale at the beginning of the next decade.