Lexus technology to take over cars, force them out of fast lanes (Video)

Lexus technology to take over cars, force them out of fast lanes (Video)

April Fool's Day joke from luxury maker teases autonomous driving feature we all really want.

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Cleveland, Ohio – First off, it’s not going to happen.

We can all wish for it, pray for it, lobby for it, but the societal challenges and ridiculous hacking risks make Lexus’ idea nothing more than a driver’s pipe dream.

But what a heck of a dream.

That guy is hogging the left lane, driving slowly and refusing to get over. No problem, use autonomous, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications technology to override the driver and get his car into the slow lane.

Okay, so you should never really put too much stock in automotive technology stories that come out within 48 hours of April 1, but… wouldn’t it be great?

In a fairly snarky news announcement, officials with Lexus’ parent company Toyota discussed the Lane Valet feature that is being developed for all models.

“This advanced system will improve traffic flow by assisting the movement of slower moving vehicles from the left lane into the more appropriate right lane, which, in turn, helps make the highway safe and more enjoyable for all parties. Utilizing unprecedented radar and lane monitoring technology, in conjunction with 802.11p V2V wireless data protocol, this new semi-autonomous system will help Lexus drivers to communicate temporarily with the slower vehicle and do the driver the courtesy of safely moving their vehicle for them,” officials said.

So, this is pretty much the nightmare scenario for people who fear autonomous technology. You’re driving along, and suddenly someone else is in control of your car. But if it gets slow drivers out of the left lane, does it really represent a dystopian vision?

About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and DesignHe has written about the automotive industry for more than 17 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.

rschoenberger@gie.net