Toyota showed a new advanced driver assistance system for the Mirai and Lexus LS in Japan on Thursday this week. At the time, there were details, but no indication as to whether the system would make it to US-bound Toyota and Lexus products. We have answers today.
This level 2 driver assistance system will be deployed in the US in the 2022 Lexus LS 500h when it hits the market later this year. Lexus calls it “Lexus Teammate”, which makes it immediately clear that this is not a fully autonomous car. The system is your teammate; it doesn’t take over, and instead the two of you work together.
When Teammate is activated, the vehicle can accelerate, brake and steer to maintain the lane and follow / keep up with other vehicles. It can independently change lanes to drive past slower vehicles and can also navigate junctions. Lexus says it can be used on “limited-access highways” and notes that it only works “partially hands-free.” The company also notes that you need to keep your eyes on the road for it to work – there’s a camera that will keep an eye on the driver and take care of it.
“We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, the result of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the US,” said Derek Caveney, executive engineer on Toyota’s Integrated Vehicle Systems team. “We have conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the aim of delivering the industry’s leading advanced driver assistance systems.”
Lexus doesn’t say what other vehicles to expect this system in, but both the LS 500h and LS 500 (sometime shortly after the hybrid) will have it this fall.
In addition to the highway assistant, Lexus announced a parking assistant. Called Advanced Park, it can assist in hands-free parking for parallel parking or reversing into a parking space. It controls steering, acceleration and gear shifting while parking, and you can see what’s going on with the help of 360-degree camera technology. Just push a button and your Lexus should park itself.