Chinese EV maker Xpeng launches rival to Tesla’s Full Self Driving system

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Xpeng launches a feature that allows its cars to navigate semi-autonomously in urban environments, marking its latest challenge to the US electric vehicle giant Tesla.

The Chinese startup announced Monday that it is testing a feature called City NGP, which stands for pilot guide navigation.

Xpeng claims that the City NGP will allow the vehicle to perform “a full range of driving tasks”, including traveling at a “safe distance” from the vehicle in front, changing lanes and overtaking, circling cars or The object is stationary and maintains the “appropriate speed” through the route.

It is designed specifically for urban areas rather than highways. Urban areas are more complex environments for autonomous driving because of the number of potential objects and situations that drivers may face.

The City NGP is being tested with some users of its premium version of the P5 sedan in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, where the company is headquartered, they said.

City NGP was first announced last year, when Xpeng releases Xpilot 3.5, the latest version of the advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS. The software allows the car to automatically perform some driving functions, but requires a driver behind the wheel.

Xpilot and City NGP are Xpeng’s answer to Tesla’s Fully Self-Driving Betathe company is currently testing with customers in the US After testing Tesla’s FSD Beta, CNBC reports that it is still broken with technical glitches and not ready for mass deployment.

Charles Zhang, vice president of Xpeng, told CNBC on Monday that piloting the City NGP would bring the company “one step closer to full autonomy.”

However, Xpeng will likely need to prove the system’s reliability and safety before Chinese regulators allow the company to roll out the feature across the entire city of Guangzhou, let alone. country.

Advanced self-driving features have become a key selling point for many Chinese electric car companies in a fiercely competitive market. Xpeng’s competitors include Nio and By Baidu EV Jidu Company, all are developing such technology.

Xpeng says that people trying out City NGP will need to download it via the update. Drivers will also have to go through a seven-day “acquaintance phase” with the system and record more than 100 kilometers of driving, before the City NGP can be used on all available roads.

Xpeng is testing the City Navigation Pilot Program (NGP) with select users of its P5 sedan in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. City NGP is designed to enable autonomous vehicles to perform tasks such as changing lanes or passing vehicles in complex urban environments. A driver is still required behind the wheel.

Zhe Ji | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

The P5 sedan, launched last year, is equipped with so-called Lidar technology, or light detection and evaluation technology. Lidar uses a laser beam to create a three-dimensional image of the vehicle’s surroundings, helping to enable semi-autonomous driving features.

Xpeng says that their City NGP will be available in future models of G9 . sport utility vehiclewill premiere on Wednesday in China.

Limit Nvidia chips

Xpeng’s autonomous driving system, like many of its rivals, relies on semiconductors from the US company Nvidia.

Last month, the US government restricted Nvidia from exporting some chips – mainly designed to go into data centers and train artificial intelligence models – into China.

“The required export license is for the chip on the server side … not on the car itself. So I think for the AI ​​(artificial intelligence) chips used in our electric vehicles. .. it’s for civil use so I think right now we’re not,” Zhang said.

CNBC previously reported that the majority of Chinese electric vehicle makers will be safe from US restrictions on Nvidia chip exports as semiconductors subject to Washington’s regulation are relevant to data centers.

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