Lexus made its first appearance at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year, showing off their integrated safety vehicle as part of the race toward the self-driving car. But fully-automated vehicles are still a while away according to Lexus.
Many are quick to mention the success of the Google self-driving car, and for good reason. It has driven over 300,000 miles without a single crash, so they are clearly doing something right. However we have to consider the real life applications of this technology and look at how the manufacturers are going getting there.
Lexus’ “Integrated Safety Vehicle” is one ugly thing – it’s a standard Lexus with huge frames on the roof and front bumper carrying cameras and sensors. Mark Templin from Lexus made some very important points about the “self-driving” car and just how close it was.
“Our goal is to eliminate future traffic fatalities and injuries” he said, but he went on to say that with all the cameras and sensors in the world, there was a difference between seeing what’s around you and understanding it and that appears to be the gap between where we are today and the reality of the self-driving car.
Regardless, there is a lot of work being done in this area, and the goal for Lexus is clearly to create more knowledge of the surroundings for the driver to give the driver the power to avoid things that might cause a hazard. It’s impressive to see the technology being built and the race toward the first retail model of a driverless car is certainly on in earnest.
I think however I agree with Lexus’ Mark Templin: We’re a long way off that just yet.