When asked about the SAE level of autonomy for the system, [Executive Vice President Koji] Sato responded: “Officially, Level 2 is the reality… starting out, the project will release at level 2 in 2020.”
That means hands-off highway cruise control under certain conditions, but also the requirement for the driver to remain at attention with their eyes on the road while the system is active with some sort of driver attention monitoring in place. Similar to Cadillac’s Super Cruise system, Highway Teammate will steer itself to stay between the lane markers and adjust its throttle and braking to follow a leading car.
The system that debuts in 2020 will also have the ability for dynamic updates, meaning the technology will see new functionality as Lexus improves the system.
Lexus has a very specific idea of what autonomous driving looks like, and it’s not a robot nanny:
Sato went on to explain that Lexus sees autonomy as only part of the experience that it will offer to future drivers and that engaging, human-piloted driving will continue to be a large part of the Lexus experience.
“The technology in a future Lexus will be ‘my co-pilot that helps me live my most amazing life,'” Sato continues. “We will continue to offer a human-focused Lexus driving experience. We will never forget the value of driving for luxury customers.”