Autonomous Lexus LS Sedan Revealed, Detailed [2013 CES]
The most visible component is the roof-mounted LIDAR tower, which looks similar to the setup atop Google’s autonomous cars and which gives the AASRV a 360-degree view of its surroundings—so long as said surroundings are within 70 meters or so of the car. Three high-definition color cameras keep track of things in front of and on each side of the vehicle up to 150 meters, including traffic lights, which they can “read.” Front and side radar systems further enhance the AASRV’s awareness, and GPS location helps the car place itself in the world. Lexus and Toyota have yet to elaborate on what specific future roadgoing tech the AASRV previews, but most of today’s safety efforts involve heightened levels of vehicle automation before or even during a collision. A car that can do things on its own certainly moves the ball towards the basket in this regard.
- First Drive: 2013 Lexus LS460 / LS460 F Sport / LS600hL
- First Drive: 2013 Lexus ES350
- Instrumented Test: 2013 Lexus GS450h Hybrid
Toyota and Lexus also are getting in on the car-to-car communication action, a game that at present, is most visibly being pursued by Volvo with its road-train experiments. Toyota has set up a large facility in Japan to conduct research into talkative cars, and to see how cars that know where other cars are can avoid crashing into one another. For now, all of these concepts remain just that, although Lexus and myriad other automakers (such as Mercedes) currently offer several semi-autonomous features, including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a pre-collision system designed to mitigate or avoid certain crashes with other cars or pedestrians.