Technology

As a problem for Tesla, the Chinese language electrical automobile producer Xpeng is releasing autonomous capabilities for driving on the freeway

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He Xiaopeng, CEO of Xpeng, stands next to the company's P7 electric sedan speaking to the media at the 2020 Beijing Auto Show.

Evelyn Cheng | CNBC

GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese electric car maker Xpeng Motors has announced a new feature for autonomous driving Designed to work on freeways as it increases the challenge for both domestic rivals and Tesla.

With this feature – called Navigation Guided Pilot or NGP – the company's flagship, the P7 sedan, can automatically change lanes, accelerate or slow down, or overtake cars and enter and exit highways.

It is part of the next generation of the XPILOT 3.0 from Xpeng, the so-called extended driver assistance System (ADAS), which the company is expected to introduce in the first quarter of this year. ADAS refers to a system with some autonomous functions, but for which a driver is still required.

Xpeng is one of the Chinese electric vehicle startups looking to lead the country's growing market as it competes against other rising stars like Nio and Li Auto, as well as the US electric car giant Tesla.

Mass delivery of the X7 sedan P7, a direct rival of the Tesla Model 3, began last June. Xpeng delivered 27,041 vehicles in 2020 – more than twice as many as a year ago.

The NGP is a challenge for Tesla's autonomous ADAS called Autopilot. One of the features of Autopilot is called Navigating in Autopilot, which has functions similar to Xpeng's NGP.

China's electric vehicle makers are trying to add more autonomous features to their cars. Nio has its own system called NIO Pilot.

How the Xpeng system works

A driver must watch a safety video before turning on Xpeng's highway driving feature. Drivers need to keep their hands on the steering wheel while using the vehicle's autonomous driving functions.

Users then enter their destination on the map. The car then begins to perform some of the functions such as changing lanes by itself.

Drivers receive a warning when they need to manually control the car, e.g. B. in adverse weather conditions or a traffic accident.

Xpeng says its cars are equipped with 14 cameras and other critical sensors. Nvidia's Xavier computer system supports XPILOT 3.0.

The function of driving on the highway will be available in the premium version of the P7 and will only be available to customers in China.

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Katherine Clark