The new Lexus LS+ Concept vehicle is not only flashy and elegant, but the large luxury sedan also can drive autonomously. The show car, which debuted during the Tokyo Motor Show, also points to the future design direction for the LS flagship sedan. And it is equipped with automated driving technologies that Lexus hopes to have on the road in 2020. The new design appears just as Lexus is rolling out a completely redesigned LS for the 2018 model year.

The front of the LS+ Concept, and more specifically the massive, jeweled grille, is hard to miss. Lexus calls it a “boldly evolved Spindle Grille” and says the grille shutter improves cooling and aids the car’s aerodynamics.

The concept also features what looks like blue lighting under the headlights streaming down the grille. The LS+ Concept has part “laser-lit headlamps,” triangular headlights and electronic side mirrors. The rear design gets an update from the LS with more dramatic, horizontal lighting flowing into the taillamps.

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Not just about design

The concept, though, isn’t all focused on looks. The LS+ Concept also features the Highway Teammate automated driving system, which Lexus says it wants to launch in 2020. The Japanese carmaker describes the system as being able to provide self-driving functionality “from entrance ramp to exit ramp on motor-vehicle-only roadways.”

Highway Teammate also will be able to conduct self-driving merging, lane changes and diverging from an expressway, the luxury automaker says. It also will keep a car within its lane and “maintain vehicle-to-vehicle distance.”

The LS+ Concept also can update system software and add new functions by communicating with a data center. “The car, which can learn and grow along with its users, represents a new age for the image of cars to which people can become emotionally attached,” Lexus says.

Lexus did not provide specifics on what hardware and software are included in its Highway Teammate system. Lexus also is working on an Urban Teammate system for automated driving on regular roadways. It said it hopes that system will be ready for application in the first half of the 2020s.

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