Toyota has provided a sneak peek, just days before the Consumer Electronics Show (a.k.a Tech Geek Shangri-La), of a new Lexus that drives itself.
The future is now! Now-ish, anyway.
Although the idea of autonomous cars has tantalized inventors and road-raging motorists since the 1939 World’s Fair (as part of an exhibit charmingly titled Futurama), the notion has only moved into the realm of practical possibility during the past decade or so.
Using a gamut of radar and onboard video cameras known collectively as Intelligent Transport Systems (LTS), the Lexus navigates obstacles, obeys traffic signals and even monitors whether the “driver” (using the term loosely) is awake. Toyota has neither confirmed nor denied that it flips a virtual finger to tailgaters.
To tease the world with this incredible new technology, Toyota has just released a video of the fancy robot car in action. Sadly, the clip is rather underwhelming.
So, according to the video evidence, the car can go at least five seconds in a straight line without a catastrophic collision.
Of course, any car put in neutral on a decline will do the same thing. Let’s hope the new Lexus has more tricks in its arsenal than the five-second crash-free straightaway.
On Twitter, Toyata confessed the new vehicle is “Not the Jetsons yet.” Clearly. For starters, the Jetsons’ car could fly through outer space, and George still had his hands at 10-and-2 on the wheel at all times. Toyota has not yet mentioned plans for a space car.
The future is now-ish-ish!