Like pretty much all major car manufacturers these days, Lexus very much sees autonomous vehicle technologies as part of its future. A new concept vehicle unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show offers a glimpse at what it might have in store, with the company packing some next-gen automated driving tech into a bigger and bolder version of its flagship LS sedan.
One look at the LS+ Concept and your eyes will probably head straight for the monster grille up front. For better or worse, Lexus' jagged, trapezoidal Spindle Grilles have given its cars a very recognizable face, and the LS+ takes this to another level. This thing looks like it could eat a Prius, but it serves a practical purpose too, hiding a large grille shutter inside that Lexus claims will improve cooling and aerodynamic performance.
But the LS+ concept is really about Lexus' autonomous driving tech. Part of this is its "Highway Teammate" feature, which it hopes will enable automated driving from "entrance ramp to exit ramp" by handling all the merging and lane changing, while also maintaining a safe distance between it and surrounding vehicles.
Lexus is hopeful of introducing this tech in 2020, along with a version for the city dubbed "Urban Teammate." The technology foreshadowed in the LS+ Concept would also communicate with a data center as a way of not only keeping its software current through over the air updates, but allowing its AI to continue learning about roads and surrounding areas to get better at driving on its own.
The Tokyo Motor Show runs up until November 5, so stay tuned for more wild concepts before the fortnight is out.