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Xpeng Motors presents autonomous driving architecture & roadmap at NVIDIA GTC China 2019

SUZHOU – Xpeng Motors will prioritize its end-to-end autonomous driving R&D, introducing Level 3 autonomy in production models in 2020, according to Dr. Wu Xinzhou, vice president of Xpeng’s Autonomous Driving.

Dr. Wu made the announcement at the NVIDIA GTC China 2019 held in Suzhou on December 18, where he also provided details of the autonomous driving architecture of the upcoming P7 intelligent sedan, the first production vehicle to feature the NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Xavier system-on-a-chip (SoC) autonomous driving platform.

Wu Xinzhou

“Xpeng Motors is the first and only Chinese auto maker to have end-to-end closed-loop R&D capability for autonomous driving, and the only Chinese company that has built its proprietary synergetic sensor capability,” said Dr. Wu.

The P7’s Smart Electric Platform Architecture (SEPA) runs on a powerful twin-chip system, with the NVIDIA Xavier SoC supporting XPILOT, and Qualcomm’s top-line vehicle processor Snapdragon™ 820A for intelligent services, along with a suite of cameras (including in-cabin camera), radars, HD-map, and ultrasonic sensors.

“Xpeng’s SEPA hardware architecture, one of the strongest in the industry, has a multi-sensor-based structure, providing autonomous driving solutions that are superior to vision-only solutions. The P7 can process input beyond line-of-sight visible range and will be able to utilize V2X technologies to process real-time data in the future, better managing beyond line-of-sight perception input,” said Dr. Wu.

The P7, unveiled at Auto Guangzhou 2019 in November, will be the first production vehicle to carry next-generation millimeter wave radar with enhanced field of view and increased bandwidth, along with increased detection distance and angular accuracy. The P7’s advanced auto-parking function is supported by four 360-degree cameras, enabling the highest auto-parking success rate among existing production vehicles. The P7’s positioning module has HD map resolution reaching decimeter level (relative positioning accuracy < 0.3 percent), also the highest among existing production vehicles.

XPILOT has already been through two generations of upgrades, and XPILOT 3.0’s implementation on the P7 will enable L3 functions, including autonomous driving on highways, full-proprietary synergetic sensor capability and AI-based intelligent cockpit, all in production vehicles in 2020. By 2021, XPILOT 3.5 will be able to perform full-scenario highway autonomous driving, upgradeable later to XPILOT 4.0 via OTA updates.

“We believe that having a central computing platform is key to autonomous driving solutions. The more scalable the system is, the more efficient for future data, mapping and upgrading via OTA updates,” added Dr. Wu.

On the introduction of NVIDIA DRIVE AGX Orin™, a highly advanced software-defined platform for autonomous vehicles and robots, Dr. Wu said: “it’s another major leap forward accelerating autonomous driving technology. Delivering autonomous capabilities for production vehicles means achieving energy efficiency without sacrificing safety. NVIDIA Orin accomplishes that critical balance.”

Xpeng’s approach to autonomous driving, according to Dr. Wu, emphasizes one word: closed-loop R&D.

“That includes developing the vehicle’s perception, positioning, planning and decision-making capabilities. This is the only way to maintain long-term competitive advantage,” he said.

Xpeng P7 at GTC China

Two days earlier, Xpeng Motors revealed details of the electric drive system for the P7.

Its e-motor, transmission and control system are seamlessly integrated to form a high-performance three-in-one electric drive system – a layout that is more compact and lighter, providing higher efficiency and stronger reliability. The electric drive system boasts a power density of 1.96 kW/kg, at the top of the industry range, with low volume of only 18.6L, while NEDC efficiency can reach 85.5 percent.

At the core of the electric drive system, the Xpeng P7 is equipped with a rear-drive permanent magnet synchronous motor, with a maximum power of 196 kW and a peak torque of 390 Nm. The 4-wheel-drive high-performance version has overall power of 316 kW and a torque of 660 Nm, with the front motor providing maximum power of 120 kW and peak torque of 265 Nm, giving just 4.3s from 0 to 100 km/h.

The P7 also has an outstanding power overload capability. Its 3-in-1 electric drive system is the world’s first to be equipped with the German Infineon 950 IGBT module, able to deliver current output of 580A to the motor for continuous 40s. It uses real-time temperature assessment to effectively manage the core junction temperature of the IPU, coupled with China’s first external water cooling system.

These configurations enable the P7 to perform 30 consecutive sprints of 0-100 km/h with high acceleration, and can continuously output peak-power from 60 km/h to top speed, offering an outstanding driving experience.

The P7 is equipped with the latest generation of the world’s leading prismatic battery pack, with pack capacity of 80.87 kWh and an energy density of more than 160 Wh/kg, achieving NEDC driving range of 550+ km (4WD high-performance version) to 650+ km (RW super-power version). The battery pack has a superior performance in fast charge conditions as well as low temperature environment. It can be charged from 30 to 80 percent in 28 minutes, and can achieve a NEDC range of nearly 120 km in 10 minutes, with sufficient charging capacity in winter conditions.

Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA in Xpeng P7

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