Lexus Releases Their Own Driverless Car
Toyota has used the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to announce details of its entry in the autonomous vehicles race. The leading Japanese automaker used a Lexus RS to demonstrate new technologies that it has developed. It's a sign of the times that consumers now increasingly look to electronics shows, rather than traditional auto shows, to learn about the latest concepts in transportation.
At CES, the chosen Lexus was transformed into an 'Advanced Safety Research Vehicle.' This driverless vehicle utilized a variety of technologies to achieve its autonomy. Among them were GPS, radar, laser tracking, and even stereo cameras.
Stereo cameras introduce a three-dimensional detection ability that significantly contributes to successful navigation. Toyota has dubbed its new laser-based tracking system 'LIDAR,' thus invoking a sense of the word radar. Interestingly, the term 'radar' was originally itself an acronym for 'radio detection and ranging.' It is quite logical, therefore, for Toyota to label its laser-tracking concept 'light detection and ranging.' Together, these advanced technologies combine to observe, process, and respond to the environs the vehicle traverses.
Toyota includes these new developing innovations under the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) umbrella. ITS technologies include both vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle communications technology.
Toyota stresses that its goal is not to sell driverless vehicles. Rather, the leading automaker wants to “envision technologies that enhance the skills of the drive, believing a more skilful driver is a safer driver.” When Lexus Group Vice President and General Manager Mark Templin addressed the CES, he asserted, "Our vision is not necessarily a car that drives itself but rather a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving."
Should Toyota deliver on its vision articulated by Templin, the new technologies should provide drivers with enhanced peace-of-mind. The skills of an "always attentive co-pilot" should offer motorists safe driving experienced at a high level. Motorists may experience fatigue. They can also get distracted. By contrast, these new technologies are ever-vigilant. The potential for increased safety is significant. As a result, Toyota's R&D successes bode well for future auto insurance costs.
The sensor-laden Lexus can readily scan the movement of surrounding objects. It is also capable of distinguishing a green light from a red light. Even the car's trajectory can be constantly monitored and measured. With the impressive demonstration at the CES comes Toyota's announcement that some of theses innovative technologies should appear in production vehicles in the near-future.