Toyota showed off a new advanced driver assist system for the Mirai and Lexus LS in Japan on Thursday this week. At that time, there were details, but no indication of whether the system would make it to U.S.-bound Toyota and Lexus products. We have answers today.
This Level 2 driver assistance system will be deployed in the U.S. in the 2022 Lexus LS 500h when it launches later this year. Lexus is naming it “Lexus Teammate,” making it obvious from the start that this is no fully autonomous vehicle. The system is your teammate; it’s not taking over, and instead the two of you work together.
With Teammate activated, the vehicle can accelerate, brake and steer to maintain the lane and follow/keep pace with other vehicles. It’s able to change lanes on its own to go around slower vehicles and can also navigate interchanges. Lexus says it’s usable on “limited access highways,” and notes that it’s only “partial hands-free” in operation. The company also notes you must keep your eyes on the road for it to work — there’s a camera that monitors the driver and makes sure of this.
“We are very proud of Lexus Teammate, which is the culmination of five years of close collaboration between our technical centers in Japan and the U.S.,” says Derek Caveney, executive engineer at Toyota’s Integrated Vehicle Systems team. “We conducted simultaneous development and rigorous testing in both markets with the goal of achieving industry-leading advanced driver assistance functionality.”
Lexus isn’t saying what other vehicles we should expect this system to be in next, but both the LS 500h and LS 500 (sometime shortly after the hybrid) will have it this fall.
In addition to the highway assist, Lexus announced a parking assistant. Named Advanced Park, it’s able to assist in hands-free parking for parallel parking or backing into a space. It’ll control steering, acceleration and gear changes when parking itself, and you’ll be able to watch how it’s doing using the 360-degree camera tech. Just press a button, and your Lexus should park itself.