Chinese Tesla Rival Launches Advanced Assisted Driving Tech

XPeng has launched its new electric sedan, equipped with 31 sensors and high-level driving assistance tech

Graham Hope

March 13, 2023

3 Min Read

Chinese automaker XPeng has launched its new P7i electric sedan – and it’s equipped with what’s claimed to be the “industry’s most advanced all-scenario driver assistance system.”

The Guangzhou-based company’s car is essentially an updated – and renamed – version of the outgoing P7, and will serve as a rival to the Tesla Model 3. But it’s marked out by its cutting-edge tech, which includes significant upgrades in driver assistance and smart cockpit functionality, as well as performance.

At the heart of its appeal is the driver-assistance package, which comprises City NGP (Navigation Guided Pilot), enhanced Highway NGP, Lane Centering control and a groundbreaking Valet Parking Assist program.

City NGP offers automated control in China’s typically complex urban environments. When activated, it allows the P7i to cruise at a safe distance from vehicles in front, change lanes, negotiate merging or splitting roads and go around obstacles or stationary vehicles.

It can also automatically detect and react to traffic lights, take left or right turns, navigate intersections, roundabouts and tunnels, and avoid pedestrians and cyclists.

This urban functionality is complemented by the Highway version of NGP, which offers features such as automatic lane changing and overtaking, automatic speed adjustment and automatic highway ramp entering and exiting on faster roads.

And it’s topped off by the industry’s first mass-produced cross-level Valet Parking Assist system. VPA was launched in 2021, as a memory-based set-up that does not use GPS but instead maps out a parking facility. It memorizes a specific spot – convenient for China where residents of apartments are often allocated bays in underground car parks – and takes over control of the car to guide it into the berth.

On the P7i, the tech now can work across different levels.

The XPeng’s automated functionality is facilitated by a comprehensive suite of hardware and software that includes dual Lidar units and dual Nvidia Drive Orin-X SoCs capable of up to 508 TOPS of computing power. 

In total, there are 31 sensors that provide 360-degree perception – giving the P7i the ability to achieve “Level 4 functionality” in certain scenarios, according to the company. Level 4 is defined as the car driving itself in specific circumstances and is a reference to the P7i’s ability to park itself.

Elsewhere, the smart cockpit runs XPeng’s proprietary Xmart OS 4.0 operating system powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, with voice recognition that covers all four seats among its highlights. On the road, meanwhile, the P7i delivers impressive performance, with a class-leading 757 Nm of torque allowing acceleration from 0-62mph in just 3.9 seconds.

Although the comprehensive driver-assistance tech is for the Chinese market only, XPeng has global ambitions and recently announced plans to expand in Europe.

“The P7i is the latest refinement of our vision of smart mobility,” He Xiaopeng, XPeng chairman and CEO, said. “We are now delivering the world’s most advanced smart driving EV technologies to the world’s largest auto market.”

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About the Author(s)

Graham Hope

Graham Hope has worked in automotive journalism in the U.K. for 26 years, including spells as editor of leading consumer news website and weekly Auto Express and respected buying guide CarBuyer.

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