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  • Kyle Chua

Xpeng Vehicle’s Guided Pilot System Malfunctions Amid Software’s Launch for City-Level Driving

Chinese automaker Xpeng has just launched its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for city-level driving and already, a driver has encountered problems.

Credit: Reuters

The software is reportedly the Guangzhou-based motor company’s answer to Tesla’s self-driving system, allowing vehicles to automatically navigate city streets with minimal guidance. Some of its P5 sedans – the ones that come with lidar sensors – can now access navigation-guided pilot (NGP) features via a new update.

One P5 owner tried the features on his vehicle but said they kept malfunctioning, as China Consumer News (via Pandaily) reports. The driver said that while he was cruising along the highway at around 90km/h, the vehicle sounded an alarm, notifying him that the NGP had stopped operating and he now had to take over. There were notifications that popped up as well, telling him that a number of the software’s functions were faulty. His vehicle’s speed also dropped from around 90 km/h to around 50 km/h.

The P5 owner said there was another instance where he experienced the NGP close on its own while he was driving on a highway, suggesting it wasn't a one-time issue.

Xpeng said the problem was due to strong light interfering with the three-eye camera. The software also has a failsafe of sorts that has it close on its own to prevent drivers from relying too much on assisted driving technology.

The P5 owner, however, wasn't pleased with the explanation the Xpeng gave. He argues that the driving assistance system is perhaps too weak if bright light can interfere with its functionality. He further adds that when the driver's vision is impaired by light, the system has to be able to take over.

Xpeng P5 interior. Credit: Xpeng

Xpeng is the first Chinese automotive company to launch ADAS for city-level driving. It does note that the launch is still on a trial basis, which seemingly explains why some drivers may still experience some issues. The company's G9 sport-utility vehicle (SUV), which is scheduled to release later this month, is said to ship with the ADAS function.

“With the roll-out of city NGP, Xpeng is spearheading a strategic roadmap to expand ADAS usage scenarios from covering highways and parking lots to much more complex city driving environment, offering our customers enhanced safety and optimised driving experience,” said Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng in a statement.

Xpeng's launch seemingly puts more pressure on Tesla in the race for self-driving dominance in China. For context, Tesla's Full Self-Driving system has yet to be approved in the country.

Driver assistance systems use cameras and sensors to collect various traffic data in real-time. These are then analysed by an algorithm to help the vehicle decide how to function in different situations. Despite many successful tests, these systems typically still require some form of intervention from a driver.

  • Chinese automaker Xpeng has launched its advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) for city-level driving, allowing some vehicles to access navigation-guided pilot (NGP) features.

  • One Xpeng P5 owner, however, reported that the NGP features on his vehicle malfunctioned while he was driving on a highway.

  • Xpeng is the first Chinese automotive company to launch ADAS for city-level driving.

  • It does note that the launch is still on a trial basis.

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