Special Edition

Take it for a spin? Lexus IS Wax Edition adds a fully functioning turntable to the car

The IS Wax Edition is a one-off that Lexus has developed with a renowned DJ and producer.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The Lexus IS Wax Edition hits the right notes. It's a sports sedan concept car with a fully functional turntable built into the dashboard that's capable of playing records while the car is in motion. The car is the result of a collaboration between Lexus, Pitchfork, DJ and producer MC Madlib, and producer Kaytranada. The collaboration also included a new double-single on vinyl that debuted in the Lexus IS Wax Edition.

Two episodes of the "Driven by Sound" documentary series feature the collaboration. The first has a behind-the-scenes look into the creative process of Madlib and Kaytranada. The second documents the creation of the in-dash turntable and reveals the Lexus IS Wax Edition.

Both episodes of the series feature the double-single. Vinyl Me, Please (VMP)), a monthly record subscription club that curates and creates vinyl packages, will distribute the exclusive 7-inch vinyl to select members as part of their subscription.

2021 Lexus IS Wax Edition The exterior of the car has a unique finish.Photo courtesy of Lexus

2021 Lexus IS Wax Edition

"When I make music, I usually do it in headphones, so I hear everything clear," said Madlib. "And I take it to the car, test it out. Every time. That's the big test. To have the turntable in a Lexus? That's beyond."

To create the unique car, Lexus worked with SCPS, a world-renowned creative technology and custom fabrication studio based in Los Angeles. For over a decade, SCPS has been behind the marketing innovations of consumer brands and Hollywood's biggest blockbusters.

The dashboard record player was created using a 3D printer and modified with carbon fiber and machined aluminum. It fits snugly in the car's glovebox and is large enough to play a 12-inch record. A rotating motor helps stabilize the turntable while the car is in motion to help avoid skips.

The model has a two-tone interior.Photo courtesy of Lexus

"Like audiophiles who go 'all in' to create the purest listening experiences, we went 'all in' to design the new 2021 Lexus IS as the purest expression of a sports sedan," said Vinay Shahani, vice president of Lexus marketing. "The Lexus IS Wax Edition exemplifies the ultimate union of our respective passions, bringing together vinyl and cars in a fresh new way."

The IS Wax Edition has a Mark Levinson Premium Surround Sound Audio System that's able to be added to traditional IS models. The system features 17 speakers and an amplifier that delivers over 1,800 watts of power for a 7.1 surround sound listening experience.

The car's turntable is located in the glovebox.Photo courtesy of Lexus

The modified vehicle will not be for sale but will be on display at future Lexus events.

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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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