Flagship concept provides a peek at self-driving Lexus of the future

Lexus has whipped the covers off the LS+ Concept at the 2017 Tokyo motor show, providing a peek at how the Japanese marque envisions its luxury flagship of the future.

Central to the concept is a suite of autonomous driving systems, designed to deal with driving from “entrance ramp to exit ramp on motor-vehicle-only roadways”.

The system, dubbed Highway Teammate, has been conceived with a 2020 release date in mind. Lexus says it can keep the car in its lane and maintain a gap to the vehicle in front, merge or change lanes and exit the highway automatically.

On-board artificial intelligence means the car is always learning about its surroundings, and over-the-air updates will allow owners to keep their cars updated without visiting a dealer.

Compared to the current LS production model, the LS+ is longer, wider and lower - and the current car wouldn't exactly be described as small. It wears a futuristic take on the Lexus corporate face, with shutters behind the Spindle Grille for better aerodynamics when the engine doesn't need cool air.

The headlamps are laser-lit units and the mirrors have been traded for slimline cameras, as is becoming increasingly common on concept cars. It certainly doesn't lack for presence, but whether you actually like it will likely depend on your feelings about the current Lexus range.

 

The LS+ isn't the only concept from the broader Toyota range to push artificial intelligence (AI), however. The Toyota Concept-i is designed to preview how smart assistants can make our lives easier in autonomous vehicles, and the i-Ride is demonstrates how an assistant could help the elderly better enjoy their vehicles.