WATCH THIS: The Lexus LIT IS uses 41,999 LEDs to shapeshift

In 2016, cars like the new Mercedes-Benz E Class let you change the interior lighting to suit your mood, but Lexus has gone one better and made a car that changes its entire appearance whenever you like.

Called the LIT IS, the new Lexus is based on a 2017 IS model, and comes with the added bonus of 41,999 individual LED lights. If you’re interested in resolution, that’s around 60 pixels per square metre.

Each light was applied by hand, and the car uses 20 microcontrollers to make them work together in three modes. Music Viz mode essentially turns the whole car into a music visualiser, while Attract mode is more like a demo, offering up a loop of “colourful graphics that highlight the strong lines of the IS”.

However, the most interesting mode is “Gesture”, which allows the car’s LEDs to be controlled by a person’s movements – along with the help of a games console. There’s no mention of which game console Lexus is using, but it’s likely to be the Microsoft Kinect module from an Xbox One. As you’d expect, the Lexus LIT IS will never actually go on sale.

The car is a joint PR stunt between Lexus and Vevo to promote a new track, but it’s still amazing to look at. However, although the Lexus is clearly ridiculous, it hits on a trend we’re probably to see in the future. With the onset of electric, autonomous cars, we’ll begin to see emergence of “usership” – the idea of renting cars as a service rather than owning them outright.

Usership and individuality

Usership will be convenient and great for the environment, but it reduces the scope and possibility of personalisation for car drivers. That removes an important part of the car experience, and it’s why concept cars such as the BMW Mini Vision 100 have made sure the individual can still make their mark.electric_mini_1-2

Unveiled in London just a few months ago, Mini’s latest concept car let users put their own slant and style on the car when they “sign in” to it. As well as modifications to the inside of the cars lighting, each user can also modify parts of the car’s exterior. It’s a long way off, but it’s quite possible that the cars we’re renting and using in the future will have similar systems to the Lexus LIT.

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