Discussion in 'Lexus Lounge' started by krew, Jun 26, 2017.
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A few random comments and observations:
- I love that Lexus refers to its suite of semi-autonomous driving assists (now including Lane Change Assist [LCA] and Lane Tracing Assist [LTA]) as Lexus CoDrive. That sends a clear message that Lexus' systems serve as a co-pilot, but that the driver is ultimately responsible and expected to be in full control. In contrast, Tesla's Autopilot branding raises sky-high expectations that the vehicle is capable of fully driving itself when it really isn't, and there's been at least one death that proves how misleading that name can be.
- I truly want to be wrong about this, but I fear that the Two-stage Adaptive High-beam System (AHS) will not be offered in the United States. This country has always been excessively cautious and moved at a glacial snail's pace when allowing for innovations in car headlight technology. If I'm not mistaken, U.S. laws do not allow for "intermediate" levels of illumination between high and low beam headlights. Toyota/Lexus and VW/Audi (whose own matrix-beam LED headlights are illegal here) have been leading the charge to lobby NHTSA for liberalized headlight laws, to no avail.
- It seems that there is no lidar componentry in the Lexus Safety System + A. There are references to "forward direction radar" in the Front Cross Traffic Alert (FCTA) section and to Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) for the rear, but neither of these appear to be lidar. Tesla has been notoriously averse to using expensive lidar sensors for its autopilot systems, but many pundits believe that autonomous driving systems cannot be truly effective without them. It'll be interesting to see which side of the debate Toyota/Lexus falls into in future, more autonomous iterations of Lexus CoDrive.
This is really impressive stuff... I wish they'd debuted this tech, or at least talked about it, at the LS' launch in Detroit.
I am impressed with the new tech for the upcoming LS. During the announcement of LS few months ago, it didn't mention any of the safety advancement. Lexus indeed save it for the last moment. Potential LS buyers must be drooling to see the long list.
I guess it just follows on the current tendency to send out information in dribs and drabs on new car models, rather than one big blast of information. This isn't totally random, BTW. After the LS 500 debut in Detroit, the LS 500h debut in Geneva and the all-too-quiet LS 350 debut at the Shenzhen-Hong Kong-Macao International Auto Show in China, today marks the 5LS debut on Japanese soil (press preview, not on-sale).
(The image above is from Bertel Schmitt's Twitter feed)
...and, just as I was expecting, Forbes contributor (and sometime Kaizen Factor Asia editor Bertel Schmitt) attended the Japanese debut of Lexus' 5LS. Here are some highlights of his Forbes account:
The full article is worth reading, though:
Exactly as I was expecting, the really deep and juicy details of the 5LS are only coming to us in very slow drips. For Lexus fans that have waited quite a few years for the 5LS, it's mentally agonizing and tormenting. However I know why Toyota is doing this, but that doesn't change things for Lexus fans.
I expect more details to come in slow drips all the way until the 5LS actually lands in showrooms.
Agreed. I know why they're doing this; they've raised secrecy to another level. However a consequence of that is the 5LS world debut was fairly lackluster and didn't have a world beater vibe to it.
This tech though, THIS is exactly the type of world-first, world-beater stuff that some of us Lexus fans have been expecting, given the historic gap between the 4LS and 5LS. I mean stuff like two-stage adaptive high-beam headlights? World Class.
Also new tech is great and all, but some of us are still anxiously waiting for Toyota to finally release the deep details on other parameters, such as the specific quality, reliability, luxury, comfort and manufacturing improvements they've made with the 5LS. Not to mention specific technical and mechanical details, and of course the deep details on the brand new V35A twin turbo V6 engine.
Also I would like to add, it's details like these that makes one proud to be a Lexus fan. It's details like these that separate the pretenders from the contenders in the marketplace. Details like these are why the LS has always been a genuine S-Class competitor, and continues to be, while many pretenders are not. The wait though continues for all the 5LS details to be released.
I'm still in a little bit of shock about this announcement: who would've guessed that Toyota/Lexus would be second after Tesla to actually ship an exit-to-exit highway autonomy system? That said, that and the other parts of this announcement are very welcome and further the LS's status as a true flagship.
well i have to mention that currently Teslas new system works poorly and for auto braking Corolla and its $500 system out does it. However Tesla and Elon do wonderful PR and most of their fans and press dont realize this, and when IIHS and CR downrate Telsa for it, it is quickly turned into conspiracy against Tesla. They all paid $8k for the system and believe it is normal to wait for more than half a year to get simple features like auto wipers, which I have had in cheap Toyotas for well over a decade. Auto brake has been turned on with latest update but still works only at low speeds unlike cheapo Toyota system.
So IMHO, Tesla is not an player right now in autonomous driving, and is quickly being outpaced by traditional manufacturers that are investing money into it and supplier relations that make it possible.
Weather this will be understood by general public and press it is unclear. Tesla has wonderful fan following that quickly dismisses any possible shortcomings.
I am glad Toyota is moving quickly with this. Despite all the PR being done by other manufacturers, right now Toyota has most cars out in the world with affordable and yet very effective auto brake system that passes all European, Japanese and North American tests. They were cautious with automated driving features, but they seem to be done with that with Toyoda at the helm. Up until this year, BMW had no system that worked as well as cheap Toyota ones, and interestingly most of the press never caught it.
Then you have people thinking Germans are at forefront of technology, well in this case they do a lot of PR and sell very few cars with this.
spwolf: I'm familiar with Tesla's foibles; I did some investigation on them and have now removed them from my "serious test drives" list (I might yet sign up for one just to feel the vaunted acceleration).
I understand why people love to love Tesla, I have nothing against Tesla itself... I would still get that test drive itself, who knows maybe you like it above all the shortcomings, why not?
But the PR vs reality is crazy. Imagine Toyota selling $5k system that promises autonomous driving in few weeks and then not delivering features what other system deliver for $300 or free in the price of the car. How many lawsuits would be out there?
Supposedly 2.0 update fixes all the problems and does full auto brake. It will be out soon. And still does not have working auto wipers.
At the same time, Tesla PR machine is pushing NHTSA report of Model X being safest car out there just like Model S, even if NHTSA has lower tier tests than IIHS and IIHS tests have shown that Model S has average small overlap results and EuroNCAP tests show that Model S is just average at safety. But due to selective PRs, most people think Teslas are safest cars on the road.
When IIHS came out with findings that Teslas are expensive to repair and have high accident rates (high claim rates), once again it was conspiracy against Tesla.
Again, PR is crazy false but cars are still extra cool... just not that cool and due to their end of cooperation with mobileye, they are actually lagging now when it comes to autonomous safety systems and I dont see how they wont lag in the future either.
I'm not even concerned with the tech problems. I'm more interested in things like heated/cooled seats no longer being available. And the completely crazy factory defects buyers are reporting all over the world, like cars coming from the factory with the frame bent or other damage to the frame rails, panel gaps you can drive a GS-F through, murky/chipped paint, and seats where the leather isn't properly stitched on. It's an LS-priced car that doesn't meet the fit and finish standards of a Yaris.
Probably not that surprising. Toyota has been at the forefront of new technology before...such as with gas/electric hybrids. Honda was (technically) first in the U.S. with the hybrid Insight in January 2000....but Toyota, several months later, introduced the far more practical Prius, which, though still small, was actually a usable automobile, not a toy like the Insight. Toyota's systems were true parallel-hybrids, too....unlike the simpler and less-flexible IMA system that Honda used.
Tesla's main problem is that all of the factory-owned infrastructure is eating up so much of their overhead that there just isn't enough left over for adequate quality-control. It's probably going to lead to the downfall of the company (or at least the auto-production part), just like Bob Lutz predicted a couple of years ago.
It seems that the "cool things" that Mark Templin promised us are finally materialising!!!!
One thing Lexus has never quite understood - or been good at - is the fact that you only have one chance to make a first impression. After any model makes its initial debut, the rest is really just back page news.
However, Lexus does the following:
- First debuts standard model
- Then debuts hybrid model
- Then debuts F Sport model
- Then allows for trickle out of other information, slowly
- Then debuts F model
In a sense, I know why they do this: to have something new to talk about. However, imagine if Lexus launched the LS 500, LS 500h, LS F Sport, LS F and outlined all of the semi autonomous tech, safety innovations, quality improvements, manufacturing process at the same time. The headlines would have been, "1989 all over again" or "After 10 years, Lexus delivers the LS we've been waiting for."
Instead, we got, "Lexus LS Drops V8 for Turbo 6."
This is no fault of the car - it's all mismanagement by Lexus PR/Marketing. Shame.
This is how you reveal a flagship car - and this is only a freakin refresh:
I think it's notable that they largely didn't follow that process with the LC, and (correctly) decided that "just look at it" was all they needed to talk about for the rest of the auto-show circuit. Makes you wonder internally which one's considered the real flagship.
Ian, it is all connected.