Chinese automaker XPeng announced this week that owners of its high-tech, all-electric P7 sedan have collectively put over a million kilometers (over 621,370 miles) on their EVs while driving with the partially autonomous Navigation Guided Pilot (NGP) function engaged.
The latest NGP tech was sent to P7 EVs equipped with Xpeng’s autonomous driving system XPILOT 3.0 via an over-the-air update on January 26 and the million-kilometer mark was reached in just 25 days. The first 500,000 kilometers took 14 days and the second 500,000 km just 11 days.
NGP does not turn the P7 into a fully autonomous vehicle, it just makes driving on certain roads easier using what Xpeng calls “navigation-assisted autonomous driving.” That means that drivers need to keep their hands on the steering wheel and pay attention to the road, but “on highways that are covered by high precision maps, NGP can perform A-to-B route driving autonomously with a very minimum number of driver interventions,” Xpeng spokesperson Marie Cheung told me. In fact, XPeng requires drivers to take an app-based test showing that they understand what NGP is capable of before the company activates the technology in their car.
That was not a difficult hurdle for P7 owners, though. During these first million kilometers (from January 26 to February 20), NGP was used to automatically change lanes or pass a total of 131,484 times, while automatic highway ramp entering and exiting happened 105,943 times. Xpeng said there have not been any accidents or crashes that they have heard of among P7s using NGP.
To manage all of these maneuvers safely, the P7 with XPILOT 3.0 uses a 360-degree dual camera and radar fusion perception system to feed data to the vehicle’s AI system. The car’s computer is then able to automatically change speeds, enter and exit highway ramps, and automatically optimize which lane it should be in, including deciding when to pass another vehicle. XPeng says, that “NGP covers a wider range of driving scenarios and situations, with a higher lane change success rate, and lower driver intervention requirement, than similar functions in other models on the market.”
There are over 18,700 P7 models on the road in China, but NGP is only available on the Premium and Wing trim levels with XPILOT 3.0. Xpeng was not able to provide a breakdown of how many P7s currently have NGP installed.
This is not the last bit of news we can expect from Xpeng in the near future about its NGP technology. The company will conduct a 2,000-kilomter test from Guangzhou to Beijing in March with NGP engaged to see how many human driver interventions will be needed to safely make the journey. Stay tuned.