TOKYO – Toyota has begun selling its most advanced automated driving system to date in a refreshed Lexus LS sedan and will soon expand deployment to the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, rolling out a Level 2 system that uses a lidar sensor, machine learning and over-the-air updates.
The setup, called Advanced Drive, will allow the cars to automatically change lanes and pass other vehicles in highway driving, Toyota said in a news release on Thursday.
The technology debuted April 8 for the Japan market in a special grade of the Lexus LS500h sedan. It will next be offered in the Mirai, when that sedan goes on sale in Japan on April 12.
In the top-line Lexus LS500h model, the Advance Drive package adds about 660,000 yen ($6,000) to the sticker, boosting the price to 17,940,000 yen ($163,400), including tax.
It costs about $5,000 extra in the Mirai.
Toyota said last July the system would go to market by the end of 2020. But the introduction took longer partly due to delays in real-world testing created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the time being, the new technology will be available only for the Japanese market, where it is tuned to Japanese maps, driving habits and regulations. But the software was designed to work globally, and Toyota is considering deployment to other markets, such as the United States.
The rollout furthers Toyota's bid to catch competitors, especially in the luxury segment, that have been more aggressive in introducing self-driving vehicles. But Toyota says it is prioritizing customer safety in a slow but steady approach as it develops a software architecture.