According to Toyota North America's corporate manager of business strategy, Jim Pisz, "The company will never have a truly autonomous car." He also mentioned that much of the technology in the research car is already in the 2013 Lexus LS.
Jim Pisz further explained on one of the features in the integrated safety research vehicle which is the active cruise control which can slow a car down to a stop and then accelerate back to the speed set on the cruise control. The company also pointed out that a similar feature in a rival German automaker's car isn't as 'smart' when compared to their unit.
Lexus affirms that the company would not fully devote its resources in a self driving vehicle. A driver-less car is just a part of the research. What they are focusing on is a vehicle fitted with advanced automated technologies and paired with an intelligent, always attentive driver whose skills would contribute to safer driving.
The research vehicle (which is a Lexus LS) shown at the show is fitted with a 360 degree LIDAR (light detection and ranging) on top of the car's roof. It detects objects up to 70 metres away and it reads stop lights and also detects pedestrians.
The research car's computers manage three core functions; recognition of images through its cameras and sensors, judgment based in real time, and operations that send the decision to the car. Each of these core functions help to make the driver safer and more skilled during driving.