EAST PALO ALTO, CA – Lexus is introducing several new technologies on the upcoming ’13 LS despite the fact the large sedan is a refreshed model and not next-generation.
Arguably the most prominent new technology is the Lexus Advanced Pre-Collision System that brings the car to a full stop when a pedestrian or vehicle is detected in its path, unlike the current unit that merely slows the momentum.
“This is the most advanced pre-collision system in the industry,” Bill Camp, instructor for the dealer-training unit at the Lexus College, says during an LS media event here. “It can detect pedestrians but also has collision avoidance.”
The system in daylight uses a combination of millimeter-wave radar, located in the nose of the car, and a stereo camera, placed behind the rearview mirror, to detect a pedestrian or vehicle in the roadway ahead.
The brakes automatically compress to bring the LS to a full stop and avoid an impact, as long as the car is traveling less than 25 mph (40 km/h).
In darkness, near-infrared illumination emitted from the headlight housing is employed to avoid hitting a pedestrian or vehicle. With near-infrared, the length of the field of vision is roughly double the area normally lit by the headlights.
Advanced Pre-Collision is optional on both the ’13 LS 460 and LS 600h hybrid.
Another technology debuting on the LS is advanced adaptive cruise control. Unlike the current system that shuts off at speeds of less than 20 mph (32 km/h), the new All-Speed ACC brings the LS to a full stop to avoid a collision or to a crawl if the vehicle ahead should dramatically slow down.
“As long as there is a vehicle in front of you, it will keep that distance,” Camp says.
In the event of a full stop, the driver must hit “resume” or press the accelerator to restart the ACC. The system also must be restarted manually if the LS should slow to less than 25 mph. However, as long as the car is moving at 25 mph or more, it will return to the ACC on its own.
An additional technology-first on the ’13 LS is the car’s hollow-chamber alloy wheels, available in 18-in. and 19-in. versions.
"When you hit a bump, the tire's going (to be jolted), right?” Camp says. This increases the pressure in the tire, creating a frequency that can transmit noise up through the vehicle, he explains. Because noise spoils a relaxed driving experience, Lexus engineers have crafted a wheel with hollow outer rims and a resonator hole.
Sound waves generated from air vibrating within the tire are compressed through the resonator hole into the hollow chambers. When the sound waves and air in the hollow chambers meet, friction is created. This causes the sound waves to convert to heat, which absorbs resonance in the tire’s air column and reduces sound pressure.
One technology not on the ’13 LS is Lexus’ parallel-parking system. Introduced on the current model six years ago, the feature helps steer a car into an available parking spot. But it has not been popular with owners, says ’13 LS Assistant Chief Engineer Satoru Ohsaku. “Customers tended not to use the system.”