Lexus has added systems that can help prevent an accident happening and, should a collision become inevitable, provide optimum operation of brakes and seat belts. The systems are now being offered in a single option package for the Lexus LS430 flagship limousine.
Adaptive Cruise Control and Pre-Crash System (ACC/PCS) both make use of a forward-facing millimetre wave radar, a technology which has also been deployed to improve the missile firing capability of the latest Apache military attack helicopters.
ACC enables the LS430 to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, using a radar mounted discreetly in the front grille. The radar constantly monitors the gap, while steering angle sensors allow the system to distinguish between a moving vehicle ahead from one parked at the side of the road, or approaching in the opposite direction.
The system control unit co-ordinates the throttle, transmission and, by means of the car’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), the brakes to ensure a safe distance is maintained at all times. If it senses the LS430 is moving too quickly towards the vehicle in front, the VSC is prompted to apply braking. Likewise, as the gap widens, the throttle is increased smoothly up to the selected cruise control speed.
The Pre-Crash System uses the same radar and a similar network of sensors to determine when a frontal collision is unavoidable. The relative distance between each vehicle and their respective speeds are constantly monitored. When a critical point is reached, the VSC and air suspension are adjusted to maximise braking performance. At the same time, the seatbelt motors retract the front seat belts to ensure driver and passenger are held securely and benefit from their full protection potential.
The ACC/PCS option is priced at £2,100 and can be specified on new LS430 models.