But not all of the new driver-assist features are widely available just yet.
Last week, Lexus unveiled its refreshed LS flagship luxury sedan. It's now more comfortable and refined than it has ever been thanks to revisions to the suspension and seats, but it's also smarter. That's down to the implementation of Lexus Teammate, the manufacturer's newest driver-assist suite which will enhance the ability of the car to, among other things, execute additional maneuvers on highways.
However, Lexus says that the system will initially only appear in the Japanese market, casting doubt about whether the US will receive Lexus Teammate, or suggesting that we may get a less advanced version of the same system. After all, as Audi found out, these technologies are often delayed because the legal framework doesn't yet exist for them.
"By employing the advanced driving assist technologies of Lexus Teammate, we aimed for a mobility experience that is much safer and more secured than before," said Koji Sato, Lexus International President.
As part of Advanced Drive, the latest system has the ability to take over the operation of the brakes, accelerator, and steering to perform actions like overtaking, lane splits, lane changes, and maintaining a safe following distance on the highway.
The Advanced Park system in the 2021 Lexus LS uses a combination of ultrasonic sensors and integrated cameras to fully take over parking duties and shows a bird's-eye view of what's happening.
While many customers and even industry experts remain skeptical of the move to fully autonomous vehicles, Lexus is keen to point out that its latest system works with, and not independent of, the driver. "Humans are always at the center of the driving experience, which is something upon which Lexus Teammate insists," said Ken Koibuchi, who is the Advanced Safety System Field Senior General Manager at Toyota.
While Lexus' updated system is classified as Level 2 autonomy, software updates can allow for added functions to be added in the future, possibly moving the LS up to Level 3 autonomy. That said, we do hope to see Lexus Teammate stateside sooner rather than later, once it hits the local market sometime in 2021. It should make one of the world's most luxurious cars even more relaxing to drive than before.