New safety feature to be featured in Japanese-market Lexus LS sedans

As if Toyota's new Lexus LS 460/LS 460L/LS 600h L luxury sedans didn't have enough technology crammed into them, the Japanese giant is looking to add one more feature to the mix to wow potential buyers. So what could Toyota possibly add to a vehicle that already includes options such as hybrid technology, 3-mode air suspension, power door/trunk closers, 30GB HDD navigation system, Bluetooth, backup camera, 450-watt Mark Levinson sound system with 19 speakers, dynamic radar-based cruise control and Intuitive Park Assist that will even parallel park your car?

The company on Friday announced that it had developed the world's first rear-collision warning system. Japanese-market Lexus LS sedans will have the safety feature installed starting this September. The radar-based rear-end collision system is mounted in the rear bumper and can detect when an impact from the rear is imminent. As a precaution, the vehicle's "brain" steps into action and warns the driver. From The Japan Times Online:

In addition, sensors in the front seat headrests detect the position of the driver's and front-seat passenger's heads, and adjusts the headrests to reduce the risk of whiplash, it said. Hazard lights also warn the driver of a possible crash from behind.

Also in the works is a front-end collision detection system that uses a stereo camera to detect pedestrians or other objects in the vehicle's path. As a precaution, the seat belts are cinched tight and the brakes will automatically activate if the driver cannot react in time.

With cars that can warn if you drift out of your lane, radar-based cruise control systems that can maintain your speed without driver input and vehicles that can park themselves, auto manufacturers are looking to take human error out of the equation. "We are determined . . . to develop vehicles that will have zero traffic accidents," said Toyota Motor Corp. President Katsuaki Watanabe. Motoring purists may scoff at control be taking away from them in day to day driving, but the day could be fast approaching when we'll be driving around in completely automatic vehicles a la “Minority Report” or “I, Robot.”

For those of you that want a closer look at the new Lexus LS, you can have a look at previews from Autoweek and Edmunds.

"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
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