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Self-DrivingXpeng's new model due in Q4 to ditch LiDAR and move to...

Xpeng’s new model due in Q4 to ditch LiDAR and move to Tesla-like pure vision solution

Xpeng‘s new model, internally codenamed F57, will not be using any LiDAR and move to a pure vision solution similar to Tesla‘s FSD, a source familiar with the matter told CnEVPost.

Xpeng (NYSE: XPEV) will launch a new model, internally codenamed F57, in the fourth quarter that will ditch the use of LiDARs, CnEVPost has learned.

The model won’t be using any LiDARs, and the smart driving system will switch to a pure vision solution similar to Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA), a source familiar with the matter told CnEVPost today.

Tesla’s assisted driving system hasn’t used LiDAR from the very beginning, and in China all local electric vehicle (EV) makers except for Baidu-backed Jiyue use LiDAR’s capabilities in their most capable version of smart driving software.

The plan to ditch LiDAR in an upcoming new model is a major shift for Xpeng, as the company was the first in the world to install LiDARs in production vehicles.

On September 15, 2021, Xpeng launched the P5 electric sedan, which used two LiDARs in its top-trim variant. After the P5, the P7’s facelift, the P7i, as well as newer models including the G6, G9, and X9, all featured two LiDARs.

However, He Xiaopeng, Xpeng’s chairman and CEO, does not seem to be a strong advocate of LiDAR.

From the perception point of view, LiDAR is less important than cameras, just like a person is observing the entire world with his eyes, Mr. He mentioned in a September 2021 interview with local media.

Late last month, Mr. He experienced Tesla’s FSD (Full Self-Driving) during a visit to the US and praised the software for performing “extremely well” in Silicon Valley and on the highway.

Mr. He’s visit was intended to pave the way for Xpeng to launch a Tesla-like pure-vision solution, the source told CnEVPost.

Xpeng is seen as one of the strongest players in China’s smart driving space, with its XNGP (Xpeng navigation guided pilot) assisted driving feature now covering almost every city in China.

In Xpeng’s efforts to increase the city coverage of its XNGP feature over the past few months, LiDARs have only been used as an aid when dealing with static targets, CnEVPost has learned.

Ditching LiDAR may aim to align Xpeng’s tech stack with Tesla’s, whose end-to-end large modeling technology used in FSD V12 is becoming an industry consensus.

Executives from a number of local EV makers have made frequent references to end-to-end AI over the past few months, and Xpeng said in May that it realized the use of end-to-end technology.

In addition to alignment with Tesla in terms of technology direction, ditching for the use of LiDAR may also have cost considerations.

The Xpeng brand will begin deliveries of a new B-class all-electric sedan in the fourth quarter of this year as the first model to reach its goal of a 25 percent cost reduction for technology, the company’s management said on a May 21 earnings call.

Xpeng did not mention a codename for the model at the time, but it’s apparently the F57.

By 2025, Xpeng plans to bring its urban smart driving experience up to the highest level of current smart driving experience on highways, meaning that it can drive hundreds of kilometers in the city before needing to be taken over once, the company’s management said on the call.

This article was first published by Phate Zhang on CnEVPost, a website focusing on new energy vehicle news from China.

CnEVPost is a website focused on the coverage of the new energy vehicle industry in China. As with our original intent for CnTechPost, there are a lot of interesting things happening in the Chinese EV industry every day, but they are not covered by the mainstream English language media. We're here to keep track of what's happening in the Chinese EV industry and strive to be the first to publish what we see in English.