Lexus LS 500h launches 'Teammate' advanced driver-assist technology

Hot on the heels of the Toyota Advanced Drive tech's launch in Japan, we now know it's coming to America.

Let's go, team!

On Thursday, Toyota revealed a sweeping new technology to compete with the GM Super Cruise and Tesla Autopilot systems of the world. This Friday, we learned the automaker plans to bring it to the US with the Lexus brand as it announced the Lexus Teammate system.

The branding bundles the Toyota Advance Drive and an Advanced Park system we learned about for Japan, which qualifies as a Level 2 driver-assist system. With Teammate activated, 2022 LS 500h drivers will be able to hand over acceleration, braking, and steering commands under the right conditions. This is not a self-driving car, but an assisted system. Lexus also said the technology can handle keeping a safe distance in highway traffic, execute lane changes and perform overtakes on slow-moving vehicles. I'm imagining the LS 500h opening a drag-reduction system to blast past left-lane campers, but I'm sure the process is nowhere near as dramatic.

Lexus also clarified this is not a totally hands-free system, which still puts GM's Super Cruise tech in a separate league. Drivers will need to keep hands on the wheel as well as their full attention on the road at all times. 

In addition to the driver-assist functions, a new Advanced Park system arrives with Lexus Teammate. Here, the LS can handle parallel parking or backing into parking spaces all by itself. With 360-degree sensors and cameras, the stress of making it into a parking spot is no more, at least on paper. We'll have to test these functions ourselves when we have the pleasure. 

This will be the first of many Lexus vehicles to eventually feature Teammate, and surely, the same kind of functions will soon trickle down to Toyota vehicles, too. In Japan, it will be available on the Mirai fuel-cell car. As for the US, buyers will be able to snag Teammate on the LS 500h exclusively when they choose an all-wheel drive model. The brand expects the first Teammate-equipped cars to land at dealers this fall.