October 25, 2023
EV manufacturer XPeng’s annual Tech Day has become a highlight of the automotive calendar – and this year’s event didn’t disappoint.
A lavish presentation held in XPeng’s home city of Guangzhou, China, saw the company showcase a number of innovations and milestones in a number of key areas, including autonomous and automated driving, robotics and even flying cars.
Perhaps the headline attraction, though, was the official unveil of the new XPeng X9, a dramatically styled “starship-inspired” seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) which is based on the company’s 800-volt silicon carbide SEPA2.0 architecture and is designed to take on the likes of the ZEEKR 009.
The X9 is the world’s first MPV with rear-wheel steering and features other notable innovations including integrated front and rear aluminium body die-casting technology and the company’s XOS Tianji smart cabin system, which is claimed to advance the “human-machine co-driving experience” to a new level.
With the ZEEKR soon set to receive an upgraded version of the Navigation ZEEKR Pilot (NZP) advanced driving assistance system – essentially the company’s own version of Tesla’s Autopilot – XPeng will combat this with clever ADAS tech of its own.
The company confirmed that it would come with its XNGP (Navigated Guided Pilot) feature which has previously been described by XPeng as the “last step before full autonomous driving is realized.”
XNGP combines Highway NGP with City NGP to provide automated driving functionality in different driving scenarios, such as expressways and urban environments, using hardware that includes lidar and HD cameras, plus compute power, self-evolving AI and data.
More comprehensive details of the new model will be revealed at the Auto Guangzhou show in November.
XPeng also confirmed updates to XNGP, explaining that it is currently undergoing testing to expand its urban coverage. At present, it is available in five cities and XPENG plans to roll it out an additional 20 by the end of November – even those not covered by high-definition mapping – with 50 targeted by the end of the year.
Additionally, XPeng announced a new feature it calls “AI Valet Driver.” This will allow drivers to set their start and end points anywhere in the city, and after manually driving the route once, it is committed to the car’s memory. In future, when the same route is activated by the driver, the car provides advanced automated assistance to help negotiate it.
Another AI breakthrough is the promised integration of XGPT, a large-scale AI model, into the aforementioned XOS Tianji smart cabin system, enabling faster and more natural responses to users’ requests.
Tech Day also heralded the introduction of a new bipedal robot, following a previous incursion in this territory with the firm’s unique robot pony for children. The new humanoid bot, called PX5, can walk, grip and carry objects and is capable of negotiating all terrains.
He Xiaopeng, Chairman and CEO of XPENG, summed up Tech Day by saying: “The innovative advancements powering our industry-leading ADAS and new EV models help actualize the technological evolution shaping today’s EV industry.”
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