The Week of Driving Autonomously in an Xpeng
XPeng, a Chinese maker of EVs, sent a fleet of XPeng P7s on a 2,284-mile, weeklong autonomous driving jaunt across six provinces, the longest by any mass-produced vehicles in the country.
A demonstration of XPeng’s navigation-guided pilot (NGP) autonomous driving capabilities is taking place right now on highways in China. Developed in-house, NGP is going up against human driver interaction on the roadways, monitoring the success rate of its fleet while entering and exiting highways, in changing lanes, and in overtaking and passing other non-autonomous vehicles, especially in places such as tunnels.
A junket of considerable magnitude, over 200 automotive journalists, EV enthusiasts, and industry types are along for the ride all week long, starting in Guangzhou today, and on to Shantou, Quanzhou, Wenzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Qingdao, Jinan, and finally Beijing next Friday. If all five seats aboard a P7 are occupied, it would take at least 40 cars to ferry this entire entourage.
According to XPeng, NGP uses navigation-assisted autonomous driving to get from one location to the next, based on a driver-determined, preset route. The system relies on high-precision maps of Chinese highways, and if the P7s are allowed to run freely, they would max out around 105 MPH, fast enough to also test their crashworthiness if that were to occur.
XPeng’s headquarters are in Guangzhou, China, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and here in the U.S. in the Silicon Valley, and San Diego. The Company’s EVs are manufactured in Zhaoqing and Zhengzhou, located in Guangdong and Henan provinces. Any reported sightings of P7s being driven autonomously in the South Bay of the Silicon Valley, or North County in San Diego yet?