Xpeng, often referred to as the Chinese challenger to Tesla, has made a significant move in its quest to bring advanced driving capabilities to its electric vehicles. The company has decided to eliminate high-definition (HD) mapping from its XNGP assisted driving feature, which is considered its equivalent to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) system.
Xpeng, the Chinese Tesla challenger, has made a strategic move by removing high-definition maps from its XNGP assisted driving feature. This decision brings Xpeng closer to Tesla’s approach, which also doesn’t rely on HD maps in its Full Self-Driving system. Xpeng’s map-free technology allows its urban assisted driving system to operate anywhere, without being constrained by the availability of HD maps or road condition updates. This move aligns with a broader trend in China, where other autonomous vehicle teams are also embracing map-free solutions.
This move by Xpeng brings the company closer to Tesla, as the California-based automaker’s FSD feature also does not rely on HD maps. HD maps typically contain intricate details such as lane lines, curbs, traffic signs, and more. The use of this pre-computed information, along with sensors like radars and cameras, helps autonomous driving systems better understand the road and drive safely.
Tesla has not only forgone the use of HD maps but has also controversially eliminated lidar sensors, a key technology for self-driving cars. Xpeng, on the other hand, continues to use lidar sensors but has taken on a technical challenge by introducing a map-free version of its XNGP feature in 20 Chinese cities. This map-free technology allows Xpeng’s urban assisted driving system to operate anywhere, without being limited by the availability of HD maps or road condition updates. The company plans to expand the map-free XNGP to 50 Chinese cities by the end of this year.
Xpeng’s decision to remove HD maps is part of a broader trend among autonomous vehicle teams in China. Deeproute, another prominent player in the autonomous driving space, recently unveiled its map-free autonomous driving solution in March. Additionally, Xpeng’s transition into this map-free era is significant, especially in light of the company’s loss of key personnel in its autonomous driving division to Nvidia.