Lexus is continuing its commitment to making advanced technologies available to its customers for even higher levels of safety and convenience with the introduction of Digital Side-view Monitors for its ES 300h luxury hybrid saloon. The new feature is available to order now in the UK as an option on the ES Takumi model.
Initially introduced in Japan in 2018 as a world-first for a high-volume production car, the system replaces conventional door mirrors with compact, external, high-resolution cameras linked to in-car monitors. These provide an enhanced view of the area behind and immediately alongside the vehicle in all driving conditions, reducing or eliminating the driver’s blind spots and adapting automatically to give an extended view when the car is turning or reversing.
The ergonomic design of the system allows the driver to check the view around the car with less left-right head movement, in line with Lexus’s aim of reducing the driver’s workload. The two five-inch colour monitors are positioned at the base of the front pillars, closely aligned to the door mirror height, so they fall within the driver’s intuitive line of sight. This means the driver doesn’t have to significantly change their natural mirror-checking action.
The cameras are housed in slim, aerodynamic casings that complement the elegant lines of the ES and, being smaller than the door mirrors, reduce wind noise and intrude less in the driver’s forward diagonal view.
The units have built-in heaters to avoid freezing or misting, and are located so they are not vulnerable to being obscured by raindrops or snow. If necessary, the driver can activate the demister using a dashboard switch to ensure clear view at any time.
The system has a luminescence sensor which automatically reduces glare from the headlights of following vehicles during night-time driving, giving the driver a much clearer rearward view.
Automatic extended view
When the driver uses the turn indicators or selects reverse gear, the monitors automatically present an extended view of the area alongside and behind the car, eliminating the blind spot and helping safer manoeuvres. An icon in the corner of the screen alerts the driver to the change in aspect. When the turn, lane-change or parking action is completed, the system automatically returns to its standard setting. The driver can also switch to extended view manually, or turn the function off.
The system can be adjusted using controls on the driver’s door panel, like those for conventional door mirrors. A menu function gives access to the system’s settings, including brightness and – a feature unique to the Lexus system – automatic retraction of the camera units when the car is parked. The system also incorporates a Blind Spot Monitor.
Automatic reference lines
The Digital Side-view Monitor system also helps the driver position the car safely when parking or driving, automatically adding reference guidelines to the images.
When parking, the lines indicate 20 and 50cm distances from the rear bumper, and 50cm along each side of the car. These are shown on the live image and also in an icon on the display depicting the car’s position viewed from above.
When highway driving, the driver is helped to judge safe distances from other traffic with reference lines indicating 5m, 10m and 15m on the road ahead when driving at speeds up to 44mph (70km/h). At higher speeds the distances are 5m, 10m, 15m and 30m.
Customers can specify the Digital Side-view Monitors as an option on the ES 300h Takumi model, price £1,600 (including VAT).