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Lexus will introduce a rival to Tesla's Autopilot this year that will have one big feature that Autopilot doesn't

11:48 13 February 2020 Author :  
  • Lexus will unveil this year an advanced driver-assistance feature that will let drivers take their hands off the wheel on highways, Lexus president Koji Sato told Automotive News Europ
  • Drivers will have to watch the road while using the system, called Highway Teammate.
  • Tesla's Autopilot can also control steering, braking, and acceleration in some situations, but requires the driver to both keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times.

Lexus will unveil this year a vehicle with an advanced driver-assistance feature, called Highway Teammate, that will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel on highways, Lexus president Koji Sato told Automotive News Europe. Drivers will have to keep their eyes on the road while using the system, Sato added.

Highway Teammate will be able to change lanes on its own and pass other vehicles, according to Automotive News Europe's report. Sato didn't specify which vehicle will include the feature, when that vehicle will go on sale, or the regions in which Highway Teammate will be available.

The system's described capabilities resemble those of General Motors' Super Cruise, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel on highways that have been mapped by GM. As with Highway Teammate, Super Cruise users must watch the road.

The hands-off capability will distinguish Highway Teammate from Tesla's Autopilot, which can also control steering, braking, and acceleration in some situations, but requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road at all times. Tesla has drawn criticism for using more expansive language than other automakers when marketing its driver-assistance feature. On its website, the electric-car maker describes some of Autopilot's current features as "full self-driving," despite the fact that Autopilot is not a fully-autonomous system.

Some companies that are developing autonomous-driving technology, like the Google spinoff Waymo, are focusing entirely on systems that don't require the driver's attention or input, since they fear systems that require supervision can place unrealistic demands on human attention spans.

•Business Insider

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