After Nissan Motor Co. released its ProPilot system, Toyota Motor Corp. will release a redesigned 2018 Lexus LS that can drive down the highway by automatically steering itself around almost any curve as it stays centered in the lane while the driver sits back settled in its luxurious seats with a little more than a fingertip on the wheel.

"Typically, most people think Toyota is behind," said Takaki Nakanishi, an independent auto analyst in Tokyo. "But it's just that their approaches are different."

The LS gets a package of automated driving technologies called Lexus CoDrive -- a feature that makes Toyota ahead of Nissan which automatically slows the car when approaching a curve so that the LS can keep tracking the lane. Also, CoDrive gets a lane change assist, a technology that monitors surrounding traffic and then changes lanes, adjusting speed as necessary to merge with traffic.

But Nissan is on the verge of the debut of the next-generation Leaf. The updated ProPilot system is said to allow the Leaf to self-park in parallel, angled, front-in and straight back-in spots by automatically taking over the accelerator, braking, and steering.

Lexus' general manager for parking assist systems Michihito Shimada, said his company is working on similar technologies but has different priorities, hence, Lexus' initial focus on parking systems that prevent pedal misapplication and watch for hidden pedestrians.

"The basis should first be parking safety, The next in the sequence is convenience," he said.


Photo by: dion gillard via flickr