As part of its 1024 Tech Day in China, XPeng has unveiled upgrades to its current EV technology as well as new electric mobility products. This includes an XPILOT 4.0 ADAS system, high-voltage “X-Power” superchargers, and a pony-style smart robot. Last but not least, XPeng’s affiliate company HT Aero unveiled its sixth-generation, road-capable flying car that will roll out in 2024.
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Catching up before XPeng Tech Day
Xiaopeng Motors, or XPeng ($XPEV) for short, is a Chinese EV manufacturer founded in 2014 in Guangzhou. In 2020, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), raising $1.5 billion.
In addition to its flagship EV, the G3 SUV launched in late 2018, XPeng Motors delivered the P7 sedan in 2019 and recently launched a family sedan called the P5. In addition to manufacturing EVs, XPeng develops its own software and charging products, and has begun dipping into other ventures like robotics as well.
One of XPeng’s most interesting ventures is its Urban Air Mobility (UAM) affiliate HT Aero, formerly known XPeng Huitian. Just last week, HT Aero announced $500 million in Series-A funding led by XPeng Inc. to continue to develop electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicles.
Previous versions of these “flying cars,” as XPeng calls them, have not had wheels but were based around the company’s P7 architecture. However, HT Aero recently hinted at a new model that will be able to travel on roads and through the air.
During its 1024 Tech Day today, XPeng has unveiled this next generation of flying car alongside several other technologies relating to electric mobility.
XPeng 1024 Tech Day 2021
The annual event, held live from XPeng headquarters in Guangzhou, was led by Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng, who introduced several new technologies XPeng has in the works for electric mobility. This included some of the potentially fastest EV chargers in China.
New “X-Power” superchargers
As part of Tech Day, XPeng unveiled its “X-Power” superchargers, referred to as China’s first 800V high-voltage mass-production SiC platform. According to XPeng, these superchargers can exceed a peak current of 600 amps, and will be able to deliver drivers up to 200km (124 mi) of range after just five minutes of charging.
XPeng also shared plans to roll out coinciding lightweight 480 kW high-voltage supercharging piles with IP67 protection, and safety monitoring, plus on-site ESS to ensure seamless peak-power charging for multiple EVs at once.
Currently, the company has nearly 450 branded superchargers throughout China.
In addition to unveiling its new supercharger, XPeng shared details of the current and future status of its ADAS known as XPILOT.
XPILOT 3.0 features Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) which was launched earlier this year. NGP is currently programmed for assisted highway driving as its core function and the automaker’s first step toward autonomous driving. According to XPeng, NGP has already assisted its drivers for nearly 12 million kilometers of travel (~7.5 mil miles).
XPILOT 3.5 is still on track to initially roll out on XPeng’s upcoming P5 sedan in the first half of 2022, and will support congested city driving in addition to highways.
Improving upon 3.0, the XPILOT 3.5 visual perception network has been upgraded from 2D detection to 3D, with multiple-target recognition using additional sensors including LiDAR in the two higher-end versions of the P5.
Dr. Xinzhou Wu, Vice President of Autonomous Driving at XPeng, spoke at the Tech Day event:
Man-machine co-pilot functions will remain critical for the foreseeable future. Our mission is to progressively transition from advanced driver assistance to full autonomous driving, with a clear roadmap to connect all driving scenarios. Our closed-loop data operation, fast software iteration and mass production capability – all created in-house – put us in pole position to significantly improve safety and resolve the industry’s long-tail issues in China.
In addition to current XPILOT iterations, XPeng is already discussing XPILOT 4.0, which will debut on a new XPeng EV to follow the P5 in the first half of 2023.
Contrary to previous ADAS versions, XPILOT 4.0 is designed to deliver full-scenario driver assistance for future customers. The new TBA model will come upgraded with 508 TOPS ECU computing power and two Orin-X autonomous driving SoC (System-on-the-Chip) units.
XPeng showcases its robotics technology
In addition to discussing electric vehicles, XPeng shared some of the progress it has made in smart robots, particularly its robotic pony prototype.
The pony will be able to perceive various environments and navigate using 3D route planning. Furthermore, it utilizes facial, body, and voice sensing to recognize multiple users. Check out some of the prototype features from an XPeng rendering shared last month:
XPeng also revealed that futuristic/whimsical robot will be equipped with a 360-degree peripheral camera and LiDAR sensing system, offering object recognition and sound field sensory capabilities.
The robotic pony remains a prototype at this time, but XPeng stated that it is working toward more human-to-machine interaction technology in order to establish an integrated smart mobility ecosystem.
HT Aero’s sixth generation flying car… with wheels!
Last but not least, XPeng has officially unveiled the sixth generation of its “flying car” from HT Aero, after teasing it last week.
HT Aero’s fifth-generation prototype, the X2 is currently undergoing testing at high altitudes – part of HT Aero’s running tally of over 15,000 safe flights.
Contrary to previous prototypes like the X2 that are technically eVTOL vehicles and not actually cars, XPeng revealed that a new vehicle that can drive and fly is in the works.
This new flying car with road capabilities is currently scheduled to arrive sometime in 2024 and should cost below RMB 1,000,000 (~$156,600).
XPeng stated the vehicle will offer a lightweight design, and a foldable rotor mechanism for quick transitions between driving and flying.
Despite the announcement, we do not know much else about XPeng/HT Aero’s next iteration of flying vehicles yet, although we got some cool renderings and an introductory video (see below).
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Author: Scooter Doll