We recently published an article that asked if XPeng Motors was taking the lead as China's premier manufacturer of intelligent driver-assist systems. In that post, we mention that XPeng was going to soon be releasing a new automatic self-parking feature called Valet Parking Assist (VPA), through an OTA software update to its P7 customers.
The update is scheduled to be pushed out to customers very soon, but we were able to get access to an XPeng P7 with a Beta version of VPA. We then arranged for a contact of ours, independent journalist, Mark Andrews, to test out the system and provide us with some video of his experience.
VPA is a memory-based parking system that doesn't use GPS locating to guide the vehicle. As such, the car needs to first map out the parking structure before it can perform its self-parking feature. It's not designed to hunt for any available open parking spot and it can currently only memorize one parking spot per location. However, it can memorize the parking spot in up to 100 different locations.
This type of system works particularly well in China, where most people live in large apartment buildings with underground parking. Residents usually have a reserved parking spot in the underground garage, and quite often also have a reserved spot at their place of work.
To use VPA, owners must first watch an instructional video and pass a proficiency test on how the system works. Once the test is passed, VPA becomes active on the vehicle. In the video above, Andrews shows us the entire instructional video and how VPA gets activated on the vehicle once he passes the test.
XPeng has a similar procedure for its Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) system, forcing users to have familiarity with the system before they are allowed to access it.
We realize the system is limited in that it cannot "hunt" for any open parking spot in its current iteration. Therefore, you couldn't use it in a shopping mall or any parking facility that you don't have a reserved parking spot. However, reserved parking in China is pretty common, so the system can be very useful to many customers.
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We also imagine the system can also be updated and improved in the future to perform more advanced parking tasks and this may only be version one of VPA.
So check out the video and let us know what you think in to comment section below. Is this type of parking assist something that would be helpful to your parking situation? What could XPeng add to make it more useful for your parking needs?