Called Cooperative-Adaptive Cruise Control (CACC) and Land Trace Control (LTC), they bring autonomous driving technology on urban roads and through tight curves a step nearer to show-room reality. Lexus sources suggest that LTC and CACC will be available by 2015 in Japan.
It demonstrated the system in a Lexus IS during the rush-hour Tokyo traffic, after gaining special permission from both a government agency and the local police to use the system on public roads. Autocar travelled in the front passenger seat of the IS and watched the engineer allow the car to steer itself around the tight curves of Tokyo’s elevated motorways.
At the moment, autonomous driving in flowing motorway traffic, on straight sections of road, is a near-production possibility held back only by legislation. The Lexus CAAC and LTC systems allow the driver to remain hands off in anything from stop-start urban traffic to fast-following traffic on sinuous urban motorways of the type that criss-cross the greater Tokyo area.