Lexus and TED Reimagine the Automated Vehicle of the Future

Lexus and TED Reimagine the Automated Vehicle of the Future

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TED Senior Fellows Greg Gage and Sarah Sandman share original designs for automated vehicles that prioritize the needs of the driver

PLANO, Texas (October 29, 2020) ⎯ As the world builds toward automated driving, Lexus continues to keep the focus on what inspires the brand—people. Lexus partnered with the TED Fellows program, a global multidisciplinary group of thought leaders, to develop new designs for automated vehicles that prioritize people over technology.  TED Senior Fellows neuroscientist Greg Gage and artist Sarah Sandman debuted their designs for human-centric automated vehicles in an exclusive virtual event today, and two short films spotlighting their ideas are live now:  “Predicting Human Needs with Neuroscientist Greg Gage” and “Building Community with Artist Sarah Sandman.” In an interactive discovery session, TED Senior Fellow Samuel “Blitz” Bazawule explored how inspiration can be found in sound.

“Focusing on what makes people tick, especially when behind the wheel, has always been central to Lexus design,” said Lisa Materazzo, vice president of Lexus marketing. “Partnering with TED has allowed us to explore new human-centric ideas for an automated future with visionary experts in their fields.”

As a neuroscientist and engineer, TED Senior Fellow Greg Gage believes automated vehicles and long commutes make for the perfect environment for neurotechnology to create a “brain-car” interface that allows the automobile to be integrated directly into how the driver feels. By recording a range of human signals, from human EKG to face microgestures, Gage envisions that Lexus could create a profile of a person’s mood and use it to change the ambience of the car. Sleepy? The car will change the lights and seating position. Relaxed? The car will cue up a chill playlist. Stressed? The radio is silenced and lights up. If current cars can monitor engine temperature, oil pressure and engine speed, then a human-inspired car could monitor the human and respond accordingly.

As an artist and designer, TED Senior Fellow Sarah Sandman foresees a future where people are even more buried in their digital devices, and the simple gesture of waving to a pedestrian is lost. With community in mind, Sandman has envisioned a vehicle that connects the inside to the outside world with 360-windows, fully rotational seats, a speaker system for interaction with cyclists or pedestrians, and even a chalk-writing system to leave custom art or messages in the street. To increase quality time with passengers, the interior would mimic a cozy cafe with a digital fireplace, pillows and a terrarium-like ceiling. Sandman also proposes a cooperative ownership model that increases affordability and makes for a more inclusive, meaningful future.

“TED Fellows program supports a community of 492 Fellows from 99 countries in every discipline—from design and activism to astrophysics and neuroscience—working to create a positive impact in their communities. TED’s partnership with Lexus highlights the essence of what the TED Fellows program stands for—curiosity, new ideas and building a world together that we all want to live in,” said Shoham Arad, Director of the TED Fellows program. “We are excited to see the imaginative work of TED Fellows come to life through this TED + Lexus virtual conversation, fun discovery session and spotlight films. What does the future of human-centered design look like? Even in an automated universe? Watch to find out.”

Following the discussion with Gage and Sandman,  musician and filmmaker Blitz led a discovery session during which he invited attendees to source  sounds from within their own homes to create a unique and inspired melody/beat.

To learn more about the partnership between Lexus and the TED Fellows program, visit

About Lexus

Lexus’ passion for brave design, imaginative technology, and exhilarating performance enables the luxury lifestyle brand to create amazing experiences for its guests. Lexus began its journey in 1989 with two luxury sedans and a commitment to pursue perfection. Since then, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of global luxury customers in more than 90 countries. In the United States, Lexus vehicles are sold through 242 dealers offering a full lineup of luxury vehicles. With six models incorporating Lexus Hybrid Drive, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader. Lexus also offers eight F SPORT models and two F performance models. Lexus is committed to being a visionary brand that anticipates the future for luxury customers.

Note to Editors: Lexus product information and images are available online via our news media website

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, often in the form of short talks delivered by leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED conferences, intimate TED Salons and thousands of independently organized TEDx events around the world. Videos of these talks are made available, free, on and other platforms. Audio versions of TED Talks are published to TED Talks Daily, available on all podcast platforms.

TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; TEDx, which licenses thousands of individuals and groups to host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities; The Audacious Project, which surfaces and funds critical ideas that have the potential to impact millions of lives; TED Translate, which crowdsources the subtitling of TED Talks so that big ideas can spread across languages and borders; and the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED also offers TED@Work, a program that reimagines TED Talks for workplace learning. TED also has a growing library of original podcasts, including The TED Interview with Chris Anderson, WorkLife with Adam Grant, Pindrop and TEDxSHORTS.

Follow TED on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on LinkedIn.

Erin Schneider
[email protected]

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