Were you fooled? Lexus’ launch of semi-autonomous ‘Lane Valet’ system

The beginning of April can be a tricky time to discern real news stories from fake ones, as brands try to gain media coverage for their carefully constructed April Fool’s Day announcements.

And this year, with many carmakers already sharing regular updates about the autonomous technologies they’re working on, it was no surprise that one decided to get in on the April Fool’s act too.

Lexus’ announcement that it was introducing a semi-autonomous ‘Lane Valet’ system fitted the mould perfectly.

The carmaker shared the news that it had developed a new technology allowing highway drivers to move slower-moving vehicles out of the fast lane, simply by pressing a button.

The system would harness autonomous driving systems and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to scan the road ahead and communicate with the other vehicle, said Lexus.

“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,” promised the company’s announcement.

The carmaker included a detailed description of how the technology would work, along with a compelling video of its Lane Valet system in action.


Video demonstrating Lexus’ promised Lane Valet technology


And a quote from Lexus product and consumer marketing general manager Brian Bolain reinforced the firm’s commitment to improving road conditions for all drivers.

“An appropriate vehicle speed without excessive braking offers optimal fuel efficiency, better traffic flow and decreased driver frustration,” said Bolain. “We’re just trying to give everyone the best possible driving experience.”

However, for those unable to contain their enthusiasm about the prospect of uninterrupted highway driving, the final paragraph may have dashed their hopes.

“Lexus Lane Valet will be rolled out as an optional feature in all models on April 1, 2017,” noted the carmaker.