Lexus to roll out more safety tech

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Lexus is seeking to bolster its safety credentials with the rollout of several “visibility technologies” on its sedan and SUV lines by early 2015.

The Japanese premium brand will make both blind-spot monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) — a sensor-based system that alerts the driver of oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking space — either standard or optional on its exiting and future models.

The rollout will commence with the launch of the vital NX crossover SUV in the fourth quarter of this year, while the new RC halo coupe will also get the technology from launch by early 2015.

Furthermore, existing IS, ES, GS and LS model lines, which already come with optional blind-spot monitoring, will also be available with RCTA before the end of 2014, though only high-end versions will get it as standard.

The announcement of additional safety equipment comes one day after the company got a back-handed compliment from safety watchdog ANCAP, which gave its IS and CT models five stars but bemoaned the lack of certain active safety technologies such as adaptive cruise and autonomous braking (AEB) in entry versions of each car.

Lexus will again take a similar approach despite ANCAP’s criticism, though says it will roll out the technology onto as many model grades as possible. For instance, any IS models with the blind-spot monitor should also get RCTA.

Nevertheless, Lexus Australia chief executive Sean Hanley said that the wider rollout of blind-spot monitoring and RCTA “reaffirms Lexus’ commitment to safety”.

“Lexus already offers reverse camera as standard across our entire model range and the addition of Rear Cross Traffic Alert and blind spot monitoring only strengthens our stance on safety,” Hanley said.

“We are committed to ensuring that the innovative safety technology is available across as many of our models as quickly as possible, starting with the all-new NX and RC.”

Lexus was the first marque in Australia to standardise reverse cameras in 2003.

In addition, from launch, the new Lexus NX will offer a 360-degree panoramic view monitor on selected models. The technology enables drivers to conduct a visual 'sweep' of the vehicle's exterior prior to driving away to ensure the vehicle is clear of obstructions.