XPeng's G9 arrives as first unmodified, mass-produced EV to qualify for autonomous robotaxi testing

XPeng’s G9 recieves permit for autonomous driving tests on public roads

XPeng’s G9 is now qualified for autonomous driving tests on public roads. The automaker is the first one to have a mass-produced commercial vehicle that is qualified for such tests. It is paving for its robotaxi network in the future.

XPeng's G9 arrives as first unmodified, mass-produced EV to qualify for autonomous  robotaxi testing
Image credits- Flipboard

XPeng Motors first unveiled its G9 SUV nearly a year ago, touting its advanced driver assistance features and ability to charge 200 km (125 mi) of range in just five minutes. The all-electric SUV officially launched in China this past September, proclaimed by XPeng to be “the world’s fastest charging EV.” Furthermore, XPeng’s second-generation, in-house ADAS system called XNGP (Navigational Guided Pilot) came equipped with the G9. XPeng has been promoting this advanced autonomous driving for a while now, sharing uncut video footage of its safely navigating congested urban areas in China.

The city version of NGP is not expected to roll out to XPeng customers until 2023, but the G9 is already equipped with the technology to provide semi-autonomous driving. Furthermore, XPeng Motors is beginning testing to certify its G9 as a potential robotaxi vehicle without any add-ons.  At its annual 1024 Tech Day earlier this month, XPeng shared intentions to implement a fleet of robotaxis after the G9 passed the Autonomous Driving Closed-field Test led by the Chinese government. Now, the automaker has officially received its permit to begin driving tests.

Performing tests

According to a press release from XPeng Motors, it officially received Guangzhou Intelligent Connected Vehicle Road Test Permit on Halloween, marking the G9 SUV as the first unmodified commercial vehicle to qualify for autonomous driving tests on designated public roads in China. To receive the permit, XPeng had to gain approvals from the Industry and Information Technology Bureau, the Public Security Bureau, and the Transport Bureau of Guangzhou Municipality. As a result, the G9 EVs are now qualified to conduct autonomous driving tests on designated public roads in Guangzhou, as XPeng looks to create a network of electric robotaxis. The G9 EVs being used in the autonomous driving tests are equipped with the same hardware as the commercial versions being sold to Chinese consumers, including perception sensors and vehicle control systems. The SUVs simply require an over-the-air software update to qualify for public robotaxi testing. The vice president of XPeng’s Autonomous Driving Center, Dr. Xinzhou Wu, spoke about the company’s latest progress in delivering a potential network of XPeng robotaxis. “Securing the autonomous driving road testing permit for a commercial vehicle is a strong endorsement of our autonomous driving deep R&D and software capabilities. Our approach of using mass-produced commercial vehicles to explore mobility solutions will build a strong foundation to realize economies of scale. Significant cost-efficiency brings us another step closer to commercializing robotaxis in the future.”