Lexus UX Hybrid SUV Uses Predictive Braking to Recharge Batteries

Lexus has unveiled its 2019 UX SUV, which boasts predictive deceleration support that learns from the driver’s behavior in order to anticipate slowing and stopping patterns.

The hybrid drivetrain combines a 2.0-liter gasoline engine with two electric motor/generators — the UX’s predictive deceleration technology increases regenerative braking, allowing energy to be recovered and recharged into the battery.

The vehicle also features Predictive Eco Drive Control, a system coupled with the navigation system, which learns driving habits, predicts the expected roadway ahead and analyzes real-time traffic reports to optimize charging and discharging of the hybrid battery.

In addition, predictive state of charge (SOC) control for the hybrid battery can predict the route for distances up to six miles ahead in order to optimize the conditions under which it can regenerate energy, while a congestion control feature uses traffic information from the navigation system to determine if there is any congestion on the planned route.

Lexus has stuffed a variety of connectivity technologies inside the vehicle, including a 4GB WiFi hotspot, Apple CarPlay and a voice recognition system, as well as the company’s Enform platform, which allows linking of smartphone apps.

The available heads-up display projects vehicle information onto a virtual “screen” that appears to float eight feet in front of the driver. This allows the driver to focus on objects in front of the vehicle, as well as the display info.

The vehicle is also equipped with the company’s haptic Remote Touch Interface (RTI) technology, which uses a touchpad and allows smartphone-like controls such as double-tapping and flicking.

Among the other standard advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) and safety features are a pre-collision system, which uses an integrated forward-facing camera and grille-mounted radar system designed to help avoid a frontal collision.

Meanwhile, dynamic radar cruise control uses the front grille-mounted radar and forward-facing camera to detect vehicles ahead and automatically adjust the vehicle’s speed to help maintain a pre-set distance.

The vehicle’s lane departure alert is designed to use the vehicle’s front camera to detect lane departure when traveling on relatively straight roads with clear lane markings, road edges or curbs.

If the system determines that the vehicle is starting to unintentionally deviate from its visibly marked lane, it alerts the driver with an audio and visual cue.

Road sign assist is designed to read certain traffic signs and display them on the vehicle’s information display– the system can read Speed Limit, Stop, Yield, and Do Not Enter signs.

Last month it was reported that four Toyota Group companies have formed a joint venture to develop self-driving technology with an eye toward introducing autonomous features in 2020 Lexus models.

Beginning with Lexus vehicles that can change lanes on a highway without human intervention, that system is expected to reach Level 4 autonomy (full self-driving capability in limited areas) by the middle of the decade.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.

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