TOKYO – Toyota Motor Corp. on Thursday unveiled new Lexus and Mirai models in Japan, equipped with advanced driver assistance systems, as competition intensifies to develop more self-driving and connected cars.
Toyota’s latest launch comes as automakers, electric car startups and tech giants are investing heavily in so-called active safety features.
The Japanese automaker’s new driving aid technology, or Advanced Drive, features a level 2 autonomous system that aids in driving, such as restricting the car in its lane, keeping distance from other vehicles and changing lanes below driver supervision on expressways or other motorways. roads intended for vehicles only. The system can even handle lane transitions, and when trucks pass, the lane system will move the car further to the other side of the lane. The car will recommend an action to the driver before taking it. The system also features a camera to monitor the driver’s actions and level of alertness, and if the driver does not react or appears incapacitated, the car will stop itself.
The luxury sedan Lexus LS will be on sale starting Thursday and will cost between 16.3 million yen ($ 148,600) and 17.9 million yen ($ 164,000), while the second-generation Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car will be on April 12 will be offered for between 8.4 million yen ($ 148,600) and 17.9 million yen ($ 164,000). $ 76,900) and 8.6 million yen ($ 78,750).
The new models are Toyota’s first products to market that offer over-the-air updates and leverage AI technology aimed at deep learning, said Toyota director James Kuffner, who is also the head of Toyota’s Woven Planet research unit.
“This really is an important first step on our path to software-first development,” he said during an online briefing Thursday, adding that the company has tried to design the software to be truly global and reusable.
In the future, software features on cars will be “upgradeable” and “more customizable,” just as people personalize their smartphones, Kuffner added.
Fully self-driving cars will likely be years away, but rival General Motors impressed the virtual Consumer Electronics Show early this year with a fully autonomous, all-electric flying Cadillac concept, while Chinese search engine operator Baidu unveiled a partnership. with local car brand Geely.
Toyota’s domestic competitor, Honda, unveiled a partially self-driving Legend sedan in Japan last month, making it the world’s first automaker to sell a vehicle equipped with new certified Level 3 automation technology.
There was no word on when these features would be available for the US market.