The XPeng G9 electric SUV has become the first unmodified mass-produced vehicle approved for autonomous driving testing on public roads in China.
The EV startup announced that it has successfully obtained the Guangzhou Intelligent Connected Vehicle Road Test Permit, which allows it to perform autonomous driving tests on designated public roads in Guangzhou with Xpeng G9 vehicles featuring no hardware upgrades. An over-the-air (OTA) software update is all that's needed to turn a regular XPeng G9 into robotaxi test vehicle.
XPeng received the permit on October 31 following approvals from the Industry and Information Technology Bureau, Public Security Bureau and the Transport Bureau of Guangzhou Municipality.
"Securing the autonomous driving road testing permit for a commercial vehicle is a strong endorsement of our autonomous driving deep R&D and software capabilities. Our approach by using mass-produced commercial vehicles to explore mobility solutions will build a strong foundation to realize economies of scale. Significant cost efficiency brings us another step closer to commercializing robotaxis in the future."
Dr. Xinzhou Wu, Vice President of Autonomous Driving Center at XPeng
According to the company, the achievement marks a major industry milestone in the path towards mass production of robotaxis as well as future commercialization of robotaxi as a service.
The XPeng G9 autonomous driving road test vehicles utilize the same hardware suite as commercially available G9s, including 31 sensors, front-view camera and dual LiDAR sensors. All these sensors power XPeng's second generation "full-scenario" ADAS, dubbed XNGP (Navigational Guided Pilot)—a $4,000 option on the G9.
Data supplied by the sensors are managed by dual NVIDIA Drive Orin-X intelligent assisted driving chips and Gigabit Ethernet communication architecture. Featuring powerful sensing capabilities and up to 508 TOPS of computing power, the G9's ADAS is said to make automated driving and parking in a variety of circumstances easier than ever.
XPeng says XNGP will be available in most Chinese cities by 2023 and will be able to tackle multiple driving scenarios without needing to solely rely on high-precision maps.
The company expects to leverage its platform-based technology stack to generate synergies as it integrates its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) with autonomous driving machine-learning-based training models to accelerate software iterations with closed-loop data feedback.