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Lexus flagship to debut autonomous driving in 2020

Lexus has revealed a concept version of the next LS luxury saloon at the Tokyo Motor Show, confirming that the production version will debut fully automated highway driving as soon as 2020.

Lexus LS+ Concept

Lexus LS+ Concept

The LS+ concept is a further development pre-launch previews of the LS, which Lexus has already said will feature a hydrogen fuel cell version from 2019. In Tokyo, the carmaker said this will also be the first car in the Toyota and Lexus product portfolio to feature automated driving.

From 2020, the LS will include a feature called Highway Teammate, which will enable hands-free driving on highways where only motor vehicles are allowed. This will be able to maintain its position in traffic, merge, diverge, change lanes, and respond to changing conditions, as well as ‘learning’ new features and behaviours based on downloads from a data centres. In the early part of the next decade, an Urban Teammate function will also be added.

Toyota Motor Corporation’s “Mobility Teammate” functions are said to be divided into two modes – one offering full autonomy, the other working as a driver aid and only intervening if needed.

Lexus international president, Yoshihiro Sawa, told journalists at the company’s press conference: “We will aim for an automated-driving level of four or above to achieve a mobility society where everyone can move safely, smoothly, and freely.”

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Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.