Such a Tease

Lexus teases next-gen concept car symbolizing a new design path for the company

A new design era is about to emerge for Lexus.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus has signaled that a new design era is coming. The automaker, which is the luxury arm of Toyota, plans to reveal a concept car that points toward the future of the company on March 30.

Ahead of that reveal, Lexus has released some images of the concept under the cover of darkness. Let's take a closer look to see what they reveal. You can see a video of the vehicle below, provided by the automaker.

The front of the concept vehicle appears snub-nosed, with a smaller grille than what can be seen on current Lexus sedans like the ES and IS. The hood comes nearly to the edge of front end but sweeps back in dramatic fashion thanks o shapely curves that guide the eye up to the windscreen.

Lexus concept car preview 2021 The Lexus front end looks to feature a smaller grille.Photo courtesy of Lexus

Lexus concept car preview 2021

The hood features a bubble, perhaps alluding to a larger-than-usual engine under the hood. The 2022 Lexus IS F Sport Performance has a similar look.

Lexus continues to show its signature checkmark-light daytime running lights under a singular headlight housing, where they were moved during the most recent round of vehicle fascia refreshes. On the concept car, the Lexus "L" badge at the front of the car is illuminated like the emblems on the front of Lincoln, Cadillac, and Mercedes SUVs. Cadillac has most recently shown the illuminated emblem on the forthcoming Lyriq all-electric crossover.

Strong character lines sweep front to back on the concept car where a hatchback (fingers crossed) or fastback design takes hold. Unseen in the video that Lexus released, but slipped into the image pack they sent over was a look at the rear of the car.

A rear view of the Lexus concept made its way into the image pack but not the video.Photo courtesy of Lexus

There, long, slim taillights are illuminated relatively high on the posterior, just underneath what looks like it could be a wing/spoiler. Defined rear fenders and a large area with vertical features that takes the look of a diffuser.

Unique wheels give the car a futuristic look.

The entire shape of the concept has similar lines to the LF-1 Limitless concept that Lexus showed a few years ago at the North American International Auto Show. A version of that crossover was said to be in the works after the concept was received with tremendous enthusiasm by dealers and the public.

On digital film at least this new concept doesn't look like it's the same size as the LF-1, but rather rmore the size of the Honda Crosstour.

Whatever the future holds, as long as the interior of Lexus models evolves to (finally) get rid of the touch pad and retains traditional high reliability, Lexus customers are likely to be satisfied with the changes.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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Domino's and Nuro announced their partnership in 2019 — and now the robots are hitting the roads.

Photo courtesy of Nuro

After announcing their partnership to work on pizza deliveries via self-driving robots in 2019, Dominos and Nuro have officially rolled out their technology to one part of town.

Beginning this week, if you place a prepaid order from Domino's in Woodland Heights (3209 Houston Ave.), you might have the option to have one of Nuro's R2 robot come to your door. This vehicle is the first do deliver completely autonomously without occupants with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation, according to a news release.

"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," says Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer, in the release. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations."

Orders placed at select dates and times will have the option to be delivered autonomously. Photo courtesy of Nuro

Nuro Domino's delivery vehicle

The Nuro deliveries will be available on select days and times, and users will be able to opt for the autonomous deliveries when they make their prepaid orders online. They will then receive a code via text message to use on the robot to open the hatch to retrieve their order.

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," says Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, in the release. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think."

California-based Nuro has launched a few delivery pilots in Houston over the past few years, including the first Nuro pilot program with Kroger in March 2019, grocery delivery from Walmart that was revealed in December 2019, and pharmacy delivery that launched last summer.

From being located in a state open to rolling out new AV regulations to Houston's diversity — both in its inhabitants to its roadways, the Bayou City stood out to Nuro, says Sola Lawal, product operations manager at Nuro.

"As a company, we tried to find a city that would allow us to test a number of different things to figure out what really works and who it works for," Lawal says on an episode of the Houston Innovators Podcast. "It's hard to find cities that are better than Houston at enabling that level of testing."

You can find out which self-driving vehicles are being tested in your neck of the woods by clicking here.


This article first appeared on AutomotiveMap's sister site InnovationMap.

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