Lexus’ New Headlamp Technology Can Identify People From Almost 200 Feet Away at Night
Lexus is taking the phrase “cutting-edge technology” to a new level with the introduction of the Bladescan adaptive LED headlights on the 2020 Lexus RX 450h. Prospective buyers of the new SUV in Europe will be the first ones to try out the new lighting technology, which Lexus says is a big improvement from its existing adaptive headlamps. The Bladescan adaptive LED headlights are the latest in a series of lighting innovations that Lexus has pioneered in the auto industry. Remember, the Japanese automaker was the first brand to use LED headlights when it introduced the technology in the 2007 LS 600h. Lexus was also the first to market adaptive high-beam headlights with the 2012 Lexus LS. The Bladescan adaptive LED headlights are expected to deliver significant improvements in night-time visibility while reducing driver stress along the way. Our friends in Europe will be able to experience that first-hand when the 2020 Lexus RX 450h arrives later this year. Unfortunately, the technology will not be offered in U.S.-spec versions of the RX SUV.
2019 Toyota Research P4 Automated Driving Test Vehicle
Toyota seems to be on a roll at CES. The company showcased its technology called ‘Guardian’ a couple of days back, and now, it has unveiled the TRI-P4 automated driving test vehicle. The P4 is based on the all-new fifth-generation Lexus LS 500h and will be used in Toyota Research Institute’s Guardian and Chauffeur automated driving system development.
Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy
The market trend is quickly shifting from sedans to crossovers and SUVs. However, SUVs have two major cons when compared to their segment counterparts - high retail price and poor fuel economy. Even though they are a practical choice thanks to additional cabin and cargo space, it’s a little difficult for everyone to afford an SUV. So why not go for a used SUV instead? You don’t take the depreciation hit that first owner does, and since SUVs are built to last a lifetime, you can get an almost-new SUV at half the original price.
Now that we’ve planted this seed in your head, let’s have a look at the best used SUVs from 2016 with high fuel efficiency.
Apple’s Self-Driving Lexus Spotted On Public Roads
In case you hadn’t heard, Apple is secretly developing self-driving car technology, and earlier this week, one of the tech giant’s autonomous test mules was possibly spotted out and about on California streets. Made public in a brief video clip posted to Twitter, the car in question is a late-model Lexus RX SUV with what appears to be a roof full of cameras, radar equipment, lidar, and various other sensors critical to self-driving operation. Making the spot was MacCallister Higgins, co-founder of Voyage, a rival self-driving tech startup, who seems convinced that the car is indeed of Apple origin. In response to Higgins’ short video clip, Twitter user @idiggapple posted a pic of the same Lexus (or one that looks very similar), which apparently pulled up to an Apple shuttle stop briefly before departing.
By all accounts, it certainly looks like this is indeed Apple’s latest test mule. The company has already been approved for public testing of autonomous Lexus RX vehicles, the previous iterations of which have made headlines after showing up at random intervals around the Bay Area. To us, this definitely looks like the car is gathering data for self-driving software development, although the car could also be used for mapping purposes, another activity that lends itself to self-driving tech development.
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Lexus’ Lane Valet is the Autonomous Tech We Really Need
So now that April 1st has come and gone, and the world has managed to separate fact from fiction, I want to talk about one April Fool’s joke that shouldn’t be a joke at all: Lexus’ Lane Valet. Obviously, it was a complete joke that was set into motion a bit early, but how many times have you found yourself raging behind the wheel because some inconsiderate, self-righteous, pole smoker in a BMW, Mercedes, or even a Lexus is cruising down the left lane at five mph below the speed limit? Or, how about mom and pop lost on a Sunday drive? Personally, it happens to me all of the time, and it pisses me off. After all, I’m important and have important stuff to do.
Of course, we don’t have anything like Lane Valet, so my method of combatting the situation is to wait for a clearing, zip around the prick who thinks he owns the left lane, and flip the bird out the moonroof on my way through as I proceed on my mission to break the speed limit and get to my destination 1.3 minutes sooner than I would if I had abided by the law. But, that isn’t the point. The point is, get the hell out of the way. I’m sure a lot of you important folks feel the same way.
So, with that said, I say that this technology needs to become a real thing in the near future. It will be perfect for that period of time that falls between the mass introduction of connected cars and when we’re outlawed from driving ourselves anyway. Hell, I would have used the technology three times this morning on my way to the office, so why not? Anyway, check out the video and let me know what you think.
Stylish Gaming Chair, or the Next Evolution in Automotive Seats?
We’re approaching auto show season, and as such, we’re about to get all of the new car and concept debuts that our hearts desire. However, every year, without fail, there’s at least a few automakers that show up to one auto show or another with something that is just stupid, lazy, or a flat out gargantuan waste of money. I’m probably one of the harshest critics in the world in this department, so naturally, I’m already looking for things criticize at the Paris Auto Show later this month. So far, I haven’t found much, but Lexus just announced a new Kinetic Seat Concept that could very well be one of those things. I’m not dogging it yet since I haven’t actually sat in one, but let’s take a look at what we already know about it.
The idea behind the seat is that the seat itself moves with you, absorbing the kinetic energy that typically moves our bodies – or more specifically our head and neck – when we drive. According to Lexus, this helps to keep the field of vision steady, reducing the burden on those inside the car and making it more comfortable overall. As you can see from the images, the seat is composed of a frame and a web-like material that serves as the upholstery. Shaped like a spider web, this material apparently makes sitting in the vehicle for long periods of time more comfortable.
The material that makes up the cushion and backrest is being called “synthetic spider silk” by Lexus and is actually derived from petroleum. Created through microbial fermentation, the material becomes a protein and is ultimately spun and processed into the material you see here. It apparently offers superior shock absorbance, but we’ll hold judgement on that until we actually get to experience the seat for ourselves.
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Less than two months after teasing an operational hoverboard nicknamed “Slide,” Lexus has finally released details, images and a video for this sci-fi mode of transportation. Through the use of magnetic levitation and a specially built skate park, the Lexus hoverboard is finally a reality. More impressive, it took just 18 months to create.
The hoverboard is made possible through the use of liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, and it hovers over a hidden track built into the floor of the custom skate park located in Cubelles, Barcelona. The existence of a track means that the hoverboard is only able to operate in limited areas, but it can still travel over water, grind down a hand rail and jump over a 2016 Lexus GS F. Lexus didn’t say how much it spent to build the hoverboard or skate park, but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap.
Professional skateboarder Ross McGouran was the Guinea pig for the hoverboard demo, and the accompanying video shows just how difficult this sucker is to ride. After riding the hoverboard, McGouran said: "I’ve spent 20 years skateboarding, but without friction it feels like I’ve had to learn a whole new skill, particularly in the stance and balance in order to ride the hoverboard. It’s a whole new experience."
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The smart cars are spreading. After several years of testing its autonomous vehicle technology around California’s Bay Area, Google recently confirmed that it was taking its self-driving vehicles to Austin, Texas.
According to Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for Google’s self-driving car project, at least two of the company’s white 2015 Lexus RX 450h SUVs will be used in the Lone Star State, one of which has already been on the street for the last week or so. The second car will be deployed sometime this week. The cars are outfitted with Google’s array of sensors and autonomous software.
The cars will mostly test around the north/north-east quadrant of downtown Austin, and for now, will not venture onto the highway. This will be the first time Google’s autonomous cars have been tested outside California.
Google hopes the change in scenery will provide a new environment for its autonomous software to sort through, including differences in geography, as well as a variation in the behavior of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists. “We really won’t know until we’ve started testing more,” Haroon said.
Last month, reports emerged that Google’s SUVs were spotted in Austin before any announcement from either company or government officials. Google says the cars were being driven by employees in order to map the area prior to autonomous testing.
“It makes the task of self-driving easier on the car so that the car can really focus on what’s novel and new in the environment,” said company spokeswoman Courtney Hohne.
Public officials are embracing the tests as a means towards safer and more reliable transportation with a lower rate of congestion.
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It isn’t uncommon for luxury automakers to license non-automotive products such as watches, outer wear and sunglasses for their customers to enjoy, but Lexus is putting its logo on a much different accessory: a hoverboard. As part of the Lexus “Amazing in Motion” creativity campaign, this hoverboard – called “Slide” – uses can hover thanks to liquid-nitrogen-cooled superconductors and permanent magnets, aka magnetic levitation or maglev.
This technology is already in use on high-speed passenger trains, but it had yet to be developed to bring hoverboards from sci-fi to reality. In addition to the actual hoverboard, maglev also requires a special surface on which to operate, which means the course shown in the Lexus video is not your typical neighborhood skate park.
While Lexus didn’t provide any in-depth details for its hoverboard, Spanish website El Patin claims to have located the skate park that the automaker uses in the video. The park is located just outside of Barcelona, Spain – where Lexus says it will be testing the hoverboard in coming months. What Lexus hasn’t said yet is what, if any, automotive advancements it hopes to gain from the development of such maglev technology.
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Few technological advancements have been as important in the auto industry as the development of carbon fiber. Lighter yet stronger than most materials that were once used in building vehicles, carbon fiber has become an integral element in the development of some of the world’s fastest and most powerful cars on the planet, including Formula One race cars.
On their end, Lexus knows a thing or two about supercars with the development of the LF-A. The company has even taken to new lengths to provide the LF-A with the best possible materials by building their very own carbon fiber loom to create the carbon fiber materials that will be used in the LF-A.
The revolutionary loom is able to weave three-dimensional carbon fiber shapes that will be put in the company’s supercar, including the steering wheel and the A-pillar. Knowing the great lengths company’s go through to outfit as much carbon fiber as possible on their supercars, Lexus saw fit to take the game to a whole new level with the invention of the carbon fiber loom, a technology that’s the first of its kind in the world.
Eventually, the machine will also be used to create materials for other Lexus models, signaling a concrete step in helping bring the weight down and improve performance of the company’s future vehicles.
Check out the video featuring Lexus’ new carbon fiber loom. If there ever was any indication just how fast technology is shaping the auto industry today, this is it.
Ensuring that safety remains the company’s top priority, Lexus is putting its money – and time – where its mouth is by releasing what it says is the world’s most advanced driving simulator.
The simulator, which is located at the Toyota research facility in Higashifuji, Japan, looks more like a space pod than anything else. A dome that rises 150 ft high and is 20 ft wide, the simulator performs state-of-the-art testing involving a real Lexus LS 460 that’s surrounded by an 360-degree interactive simulation of real world driving.
Not only does the simulator allow the company to study a number of real-world driving scenarios, it also helps Lexus come to a better understanding as to how driver’s react during these scenarios, especially those that lead to car crashes. The simulator works in all directions and can simulate speeds of over 180 mph, as well as simulate a number of driving conditions, providing Lexus with a wealth of information it needs to provide with cars that are more resistant to traffic accidents.
We don’t think it’s a coincidence that both Lexus and Mercedes have come out with brand new driving simulators about one week from each other. We’ll have to wait to see what new technology these automakers come out with after a few test spins in their simulators to decide which brand spent their money wisely!
Lexus unveiled F-Sport, its first-ever performance accessory line available for the IS 250, and the IS 350. The line was premiered at the 2007 Special Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas, where the appearance marked the division’s first official participation at the show, attended by more than 100,000 industry leaders from over 100 countries showcasing the latest in automotive products, electronics, and aftermarket accessories.