Video of the Toyota Driving Simulator


A video demonstration of the Toyota Driving Simulator has been posted on Youtube:

Bit disappointed they didn’t show any virtual accidents. I know the simulator was built to examine potential safety features, but with that music in the background, they could probably test the driving characteristics of someone going insane.

(Thanks Dan!)

Lexus Issues Recall of 2006 GS 300, IS 250 & IS 350


2006 Lexus GS 300

Lexus has announced a recall of the 2006 editions of the GS 300, IS 250 and the IS 350, in regards to a problem with the fuel pipe design.

Over time, a crack may form in fuel pipes located in the engine compartment, the company said today in a statement.

The problem is blamed on high-stress areas that may have been created during the manufacturing process that when combined with corrosive agents, such as fuel, can form a crack, leading to fuel leakage.

There’s only been one case reported, and no accidents have occurred. Affected owners should get get a notice in the mail early next month.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

Toyota Builds New Driving Simulator


Toyota Driving Simulator

Toyota has built a new driving simulator at their Higashifuji Technical Center in Japan, and it looks straight out of science fiction.

Inside the 15-foot-high, 23-foot-wide sphere is a Lexus IS attached to an elaborate rail system and surrounded by a 360-degree video screen that displays a virtual driving environment:

The internal surrounding sides of the dome show 360 degree computer graphic imagery of roads and landscape, complete with signs, pedestrians, street-side stores and faraway Mount Fuji — all synchronized to move with the simulated driving.

In a demonstration for reporters Monday at a Toyota technology center, the dome moved in a 35-meter (115 foot) long building, skidding on a rail horizontally and vertically.

When a driver pushed on the brakes, the dome tilted forward to give the effect of stopping. When the driver turned the steering wheel to the right, the dome cocked to the right to give the feeling of turning.

The simulator will be used primarily to test out advanced safety features, as well as examine how intoxication and drowsiness affects drivers.

It’s a substantial looking thing, and I certainly wouldn’t turn down a chance to try it out.

[Source: International Herald Tribune]

The 2008 Lexus RX 400h’s Illuminated Scuff Plates


While browsing Club Lexus for details on the 2008 Lexus RX 400h’s updates, I found this great photo by tomv, a new hybrid owner, which shows off the illuminated scuff plates:

2008 Lexus RX 400h's Illuminated Scuff Plates

Just to be clear, these would be visible when opening the doors. Great effect, I’m very impressed.

Lexus LS is the World’s Most Beautiful Large Sedan


The Lexus LS 600h

Not exactly sure how it happened, but for the 15th Annual L’Automobile più Bella del Mondo (Most Beautiful Cars in the World) Awards, Lexus managed to snag first and second place in the Limousine (Large Sedan) category, with the LS 600h taking top spot and the LS 460 taking second.

I’m surprised they didn’t just judge the cars as a single entity. The differences between the LS 600h & 460 are technical for the most part, and as far as I can tell, the awards are based strictly on looks. Still, a dominant performance by the LS all round.

[Via: Autoblog]