China's Tesla Challenger Xpeng Reveals its New P5 Fastback, the World's First Production EV Equipped with Lidar for Autonomous Driving
【Summary】Chinese electric vehicles startup XPeng Motors revealed its third production model named the P5, which is the world’s first production EV equipped with automotive-grade LiDAR technology to support the vehicle’s autonomous driving capabilities. The P5 is a fully-electric four door fastback packed with cutting edge technology, including Xpeng’s XPILOT 3.5 autonomous driving system.
Chinese electric vehicles startup Xpeng Motors revealed its third production model named the P5, which is the world's first production EV equipped with automotive-grade LiDAR technology to support the vehicle's autonomous driving capabilities.
Xpeng said the P5 is positioned as a family-friendly model under its flagship P7 sedan which was launched in April 2020.
"The P5 brings a new level in sophistication and technological advancement for smart EVs," said He Xiaopeng, Chairman & CEO of Xpeng. "Each new Xpeng model aims for a new high in technology, and the P5 is our most advanced and technically ambitious model yet. Our homegrown technology, distinctive design language and user experience philosophy, all reflect Xpeng's drive to grow from its Chinese roots to realize its global vision of leading the world's Smart EV market."
On the outside, the P5 sports an aerodynamic with X-shaped headlights and taillights that reflect the company's logo. The P5 also offers panoramic canopy glass roof which adds to a feeling of spaciousness to the interior.
The interior of the P5 is minimalist and incoroprates some of the same design elements as Tesla vehicles. The P5 features a 16.5-inch, rectangular center mounted touch screen display that's positioned vertically in the center of the dashboard. The screen provides all essential information and vehicle controls right where the driver needs them.
The passenger compartment is also both spacious and comfortable. Another unique feature is that the interior can be reconfigured as a private full-width movie theater for user enjoyment. The front seat backs can fold completely flat creating a comfortable lounge space in the vehicle to function as a full-length sleeping compartment. Its definitely a unique feature.
Additional touches for passengers include a built-in refrigerator and air freshness & fragrance control.
The front seats fold flat to create a lounge space inside the P5 for watching a movie or sleeping.
The Xpeng P5 Comes With Lidar Sensors for Autonomous Driving
Xpeng is the first automaker to add lidar to its vehicles during production. The lidar sensors will significantly improve the vehicle's high-precision object recognition, according to the company.
The P5's double-prism lidar sensors are capable of identifying pedestrians, cyclists or scooters, static obstacles, and construction zones, even at night and in low-light conditions, such as when traveling in a tunnel.
"Introducing lidar technology into production vehicles is a breakthrough in popularizing autonomous driving, and an endorsement of our in-house R&D process. Our customers will benefit from this premium advanced technology, which makes autonomous driving more driver-friendly, safe and effective," said He Xiaopeng during a presentation at Auto Guangzhou in Nov 2020.
The Xpeng P5 is Powered by Nvidia's DRIVE Platform
Like its predecessor the P7 sedan, the P5 includes Nvidia's DRIVE AGX platform, which acts as the "brain" of a self-driving vehicle. The Nvidia DRIVE AGX platform supports Xpeng's highway autonomous driving systems called "Navigation Guided Pilot" (NGP).
Xpeng's NGP autonomous driving feature is powered by Nvidia's DRIVE high-performance Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC) , which is one of the world's most powerful processors for self-driving vehicles. The AI-powered Xavier SoC is a powerhouse, delivering 30 TOPS (30 trillion operations per second) of compute performance to support the P5's autonomous driving features.
Nvidia's Xavier is the first production-level SoC dedicated to supporting highly automated and autonomous driving functions.
NGP is supported by the latest version of Xpeng's autonomous driving system XPILOT 3.5, which was developed entirely in-house. Much of the company's focus is on autonomous driving. Approximately 50% of Xpeng's employees work in R&D to develop advanced technology for the automaker.
The XPILOT 3.5 automated driving suite allows drivers to simply enter a destination and navigate to it without human intervention in most cases. XPeng considers its to be a level 3 autonomous system. The P5 will be able to handle situations such as merging, automatic follow and speed limit optimization on urban roads and recognizing traffic lights.
Nvidia is becoming a leading developer of hardware development for autonomous vehicles around the world due to the robust processing capabilities of its SoCs. In addition to the Nvidia Xavier SoC, the P5 is packed with other sensors and other hardware for safe automated driving.
The P5 will come with a total of 32 perception sensors (including 2 LiDAR units, 12 ultrasonic sensors, 5 millimeter-wave radars, and 13 high-resolution cameras) and 1 high-precision positioning unit (GNSS + IMU). The hardware and software includes a high level of redundancy to handle any single point failures. The perception sensors can handle challenging and complex road conditions, according to Xpeng.
The P5 Features the Xmart Vehicle OS
The P5 also includes Xpeng's Xmart OS 3.0. The Xmart OS platfrom supports voice interaction, and a voice powered assistant, which Xpeng calls "Voice for Everything." The voice assistant can inform and entertain both drivers and passengers.
The P5's Xmart OS is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon flagship SA8155P automotive computing platform, which is 3x more powerful than the previous generation.
The P5's smart interaction suite also includes a remote Bluetooth key with enhanced security.
An ecosystem of in-house and third-party applications and software packages can be downloaded OTA to the vehicle, giving customers additional customization options.
Xpeng is already a strong challenger to Tesla in China. The company offers the same level of technology for about half the price of a Tesla vehicle in China. The P7 sedan launched last year is positioned to be an alternative to the more expensive Tesla Model S. Now the P5 is poised to be a strong competitor to Tesla's Model 3 and Model Y crossover in China.
The P5 will be on display at Auto Shanghai 2021 on April 19. Xpeng will share more details of its specifications, performance, pricing and availability at a later date.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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