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Lexus Is One Step Closer to Autonomous Driving With 2021 Lexus LS

Auto manufacturers are now approaching carmaking the same way that leading technology companies create their products. With the help of cutting edge software technology, carmakers can elevate the consumer experience, just like Apple or Google does with their devices. The next big thing in the auto industry is self-driving cars, and Lexus is among the latest to show that autonomous driving is in our near future with the 2021 Lexus LS.

The growing digital trends in the auto industry

A passenger in a self-driving car.
Self-driving car | Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Automaker giants such as General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are among those with grand plans to make self-driving cars a big part of our daily lives. Now Toyota Motor Corp. is looking to strongly compete in this arena too. Lexus announced that it plans to introduce its most innovative automated driving system ever on the upcoming Lexus LS sedan.

As shared in a recent report from AutoNews, the new 2021 LS will feature a lidar-based Level 2 system that automatically enables the vehicle to switch lanes as well as pass other cars on the highway. This new technology has been dubbed Lexus Teammate. The automaker’s announcement comes shortly after Elon Musk’s claim that Tesla is very close to introducing Level 5 self-driving cars by 2021. 

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Meet Lexus Teammate 

Compared to Tesla’s self-driving car plan, Lexus Teammate is definitely on the cautious side. Lexus has actually refrained from calling this technology autonomous. Instead, Lexus refers to Lexus Teammate as “automated” technology. Even so, Lexus Teammate still sounds pretty cool. This new system is being developed in partnership with Denso Corp. Denso currently supports the features in the Lexus Safety System+ such as the forward stereo camera.

Lexus Teammate will be programmed to maneuver various highway driving situations. You can think of Lexus Teammate as an upgraded version of today’s advanced safety features. These include maintaining distance with other vehicles, changing lanes, as well as outdistancing other vehicles on the road. The new automated system will also be able to handle lane splitting and be able to keep the car in its own lane.

Lexus Teammate will also include an automated parking assist feature to control the vehicle’s steering and braking for example. To accomplish this, Denso will add an additional sensor and electronic control unit. This will also help the LS decipher more complex driving situations. 

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More about the 2021 LS 

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Abstract art in real life. #LexusLS

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The 2021 LS with the new Lexus Teammate system will be available for sale in Japan sometime later in 2020. At this point, Lexus hasn’t provided further information on when the automated technology will be introduced in its other markets. This makes sense because technically Lexus Teammate is being deployed first based on Japanese driving regulations.

So, we aren’t sure when the automated technology will be available on the U.S. spec of the 2021 LS. What we do know is that Lexus has made a few interesting updates to the model. The LS500 and LS500h hybrid variants both have received facelifts and both models will also feature a new touchscreen infotainment system.