The Week of Driving Autonomously in an Xpeng

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai

XPeng, a Chinese maker of EVs, sent a fleet of XPeng P7s on a 2,284-mile, weeklong autonomous driving jaunt across six provinces, the longest by any mass-produced vehicles in the country.

A demonstration of XPeng’s navigation-guided pilot (NGP) autonomous driving capabilities is taking place right now on highways in China. Developed in-house, NGP is going up against human driver interaction on the roadways, monitoring the success rate of its fleet while entering and exiting highways, in changing lanes, and in overtaking and passing other non-autonomous vehicles, especially in places such as tunnels.

A junket of considerable magnitude, over 200 automotive journalists, EV enthusiasts, and industry types are along for the ride all week long, starting in Guangzhou today, and on to Shantou, Quanzhou, Wenzhou, Hangzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing, Qingdao, Jinan, and finally Beijing next Friday. If all five seats aboard a P7 are occupied, it would take at least 40 cars to ferry this entire entourage.

According to XPeng, NGP uses navigation-assisted autonomous driving to get from one location to the next, based on a driver-determined, preset route. The system relies on high-precision maps of Chinese highways, and if the P7s are allowed to run freely, they would max out around 105 MPH, fast enough to also test their crashworthiness if that were to occur.

XPeng’s headquarters are in Guangzhou, China, with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and here in the U.S. in the Silicon Valley, and San Diego. The Company’s EVs are manufactured in Zhaoqing and Zhengzhou, located in Guangdong and Henan provinces. Any reported sightings of P7s being driven autonomously in the South Bay of the Silicon Valley, or North County in San Diego yet?

[Images: XPeng]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Aja8888 Aja8888 on Mar 19, 2021

    Too bad they don't sell them in the U.S. yet.

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Mar 22, 2021

    If we’re going to have to put up with the stupid Lexus ad into perpetuity, can they at least put the damn thing into the browser cache so that it doesn’t re-download every time I access a page, chewing through my data plan??!!

    • See 1 previous
    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Mar 22, 2021

      @28-Cars-Later No argument from me on anything you said, particularly about the culture!

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X As much problems as I had with my '96 Chevy Impala SS.....I would love to try one again. I've seen a Dark Cherry Metallic one today and it looked great.
  • Susan O’Neil There is a good reason to keep the Chevrolet Malibu and other 4 door family sedans! You can transport your parents and other somewhat handicapped people comfortably and safety! If someone can stand and pivot you can put them in your car. An armrest in the back seat is appreciated and a handle above the door! Oh…and leather seats so your passenger can slide across the seat! 😊Plus, you can place a full sized wheelchair or walker in the trunk! The car sits a little lower…so it’s doable! I currently have a Ford Fusion and we have a Honda Accord. Our previous cars were Mercury Sables-excellent for transporting handicapped people and equipment! As the population ages-sedans are a very practical choice! POV from a retired handicapped advocate and daughter! 😊
  • Freddie Remember those ads that say "Call your doctor if you still have...after four hours"?You don't need to call your doctor, just get behind the wheel of a CUV. In fact, just look at one.I'm a car guy with finite resources; I can't afford a practical car during the week plus a fun car on the weekend. My solution is my Honda Civic Si 4 door sedan. Maybe yours is a Dodge Charger (a lot of new Chargers are still on dealer lots).
  • Daniel J Interesting in that we have several weeks where the temperature stays below 45 but all weather tires can't be found in a shop anywhere. I guess all seasons are "good enough".
  • Steve Biro For all the talk about sedans vs CUVs and SUVs, I simply can’t bring myself to buy any modern vehicle. And I know it’s only going to get worse.