Xpeng P7 upgrade cribs Navigate on Autopilot functions, adds lidar

Chinese automaker Xpeng has launched an over-the-air (OTA) software update for its P7 electric car, adding features similar to Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot. Xpeng used the OTA update to deliver the latest version of its operating system—Xmart OS 2.5.0—to Chinese customers. The update adds over 40 new functions and 200 “optimized” features, the company said […]

Chinese automaker Xpeng has launched an over-the-air (OTA) software update for its P7 electric car, adding features similar to Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot.

Xpeng used the OTA update to deliver the latest version of its operating system—Xmart OS 2.5.0—to Chinese customers. The update adds over 40 new functions and 200 “optimized” features, the company said in a press release Tuesday.

That includes the Navigation Guided Pilot driver-assist system. Like Tesla’s Navigate on Autopilot on-ramp to off-ramp functionality, it will automatically negotiate ramps, maintain a set speed on highways, and execute lane changes. In another Tesla-like move, Xpeng is calling this a “public beta” version.

Unlike Tesla Autopilot, however, Xpeng’s system uses lidar. In what sounds somewhat scathing, the press release notes that one of the system’s key functions is “automatic identification and avoidance of obstacles such as construction sites, traffic cones, trucks and stationary vehicles”—perhaps a nod to Tesla Autopilot and its infrequent but much-covered crashes into stationary (or turning) vehicles.

Xpeng P7

Xpeng P7

In addition to Navigated Guided Pilot, the OTA update also added some more basic driver aids that are already standard equipment on many new cars in the United States, such as forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Launched in April 2020 for the Chinese market, the P7 is Xpeng’s second EV, and its flagship model. Xpeng offers three versions, with the quickest hitting 62 mph in 4.3 seconds, according to the company. A long-range version is good for 385 miles of range on the NEDC testing cycle—or about 250 miles on the EPA testing cycle. At the time of the P7’s unveiling, Xpeng quoted a base price of about $38,000 for the sedan.

Xpeng’s Chinese rival Nio offers Nio Pilot, which is in some respects a continuation of the system MobilEye was developing for Tesla before that partnership dissolved in 2016.

Xpeng and Nio have teamed up for charging, but they remain rivals for interface, ecosystem, and pretty much all other parts of the EV business. The charging partnership is helped by the fact that both Xpeng and Neo use the Chinese GB/T fast-charging standard, so there’s no factionalism over Supercharger versus CCS or CHAdeMO, as in the U.S.