Lexus apparently 'future-proofs' its cars

Because we don't know what gadget Steve Jobs will launch next
by Vernon B. Sarne | Jun 13, 2011

We already know how complicated the process of designing modern cars is. Every carmaker has a well-funded department called R&D--research and development, of course--whose task is to ensure that every new car that rolls off the assembly line is well-adapted to the times. In an increasingly cutthroat global car market, a vehicle's edge lies as much in its technological package as it does in its styling and performance.

And so we see car companies one-upping each other in the area of so-called bells and whistles. Voice command...collision prevention system...satellite navigation...drowsiness detection...you name it. In fact, you'd be laughed at today if your car didn't have iPod connectivity. Yes, even if you were driving a Suzuki Alto.

We all know there's even a race out there among carmakers to bring us the first fully automated, driverless car. We're impressed, to be honest. All this technological thing that goes into creating our cars makes us feel that we're getting our money's worth--or at least that we're in a Will Smith sci-fi film.

Still, we don't really know the lengths that carmakers go to just to give us vehicles that won't be out of place on Futurama. Take, for instance, Lexus. Did you know that Toyota's luxury division apparently "future-proofs" its cars? In a nutshell, future-proofing a car means making it impervious to electromagnetic radiation emitted by yet-to-be-made gadgets or power installations. You know that your iPad transmits such waves, right? And that these waves--seemingly harmless for now--have an effect on our cars' electronics (we just don't notice it). Geeks call it "electromagnetic interference"; terrorists probably call it "an aircraft's kryptonite."

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Thing is, we have no idea if the future generation of mobile phones or hand-held devices will still have benign doses of this electromagnetic oscillation. Lexus engineers--anticipating the best but preparing for the worst--fear that we might reach the point when all the electromagnetic signals flying around us will be strong enough to mess with our cars' computer-reliant functions. To prevent this from ever happening, they subject their cars to radiation levels much more than our cars encounter today.

To better understand the concept, watch the video below. Some Lexus dude named Paul Williamsen will walk you through it...

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