In the race to develop the world’s first self-driving car, Japanese firms have been lagging their European and North American counterparts. Google has already developed a fully autonomous vehicle and has even gained a license to test it on public roads in the state of Nevada.

Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, will be the first on the market with a vehicle with fully autonomous capability. That vehicle will be the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class due out next year, which will be able to crawl in traffic as well as cruise along the highway at speeds of up to 124 mph without any driver involvement.  

But the development of autonomous car technology has not been completely ignored in Japan.

Nissan recently previewed a system that can help avoid accidents by applying automatic braking and automatic steering in situations where a collision is imminent and simply applying the brakes may not be affective.

Now Lexus has announced that it will outline its autonomous car strategy together with its parent Toyota at a press conference preceding the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, next month.

During the press conference, scheduled for January 7, Lexus general manager Mark Templin will discuss the automaker’s North American-based research program designed to explore the use of autonomous car technology and other high-level driver assistance systems in reducing accidents.

A research vehicle will also be revealed, believed to be the latest 2013 Lexus LS fitted with an array of sensors necessary for autonomous driving.

Finally, Templin will also give an update on a Car 2 Car communications research program being undertaken by Lexus and Toyota in Japan. Dubbed the Intelligent Transport System (ITS), the technology aims to prevent crashes by using radio waves to allow vehicles to communicate with one another and warn the driver if a crash is imminent.

Stay tuned for an update.

2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport

2013 Lexus LS 460 F Sport