Xpeng to Copy Tesla Pure Vision in Next EV, Ditch LiDAR: Report

Chinese EV maker Xpeng will introduce a new model, internally codenamed F57, in Q4, eliminating the use of LiDAR technology, according to unnamed sources speaking to CnEVPost.

The new model will adopt a pure camera-based smart driving system, similar to Tesla’s approach with its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) system, as disclosed by a source familiar with the matter.

Tesla’s assisted driving system has historically avoided LiDAR, which is expensive to implement. In contrast, most Chinese EV manufacturers, excluding the Baidu-backed Jiyue, incorporate LiDAR in their advanced smart driving software.

The decision to drop LiDAR marks a significant shift for Xpeng, the first automaker to install LiDAR in production vehicles. On September 15, 2021, Xpeng launched the P5 electric sedan featuring two LiDARs in its top variant. Subsequent models, including the P7 facelift (P7i), G6, G9, and X9, also incorporated two LiDARs.

He Xiaopeng, Xpeng’s chairman and CEO, has previously downplayed the importance of LiDAR. “From the perception point of view, LiDAR is less important than cameras, just like a person is observing the entire world with his eyes,” Mr. He stated in a September 2021 interview with local media.

Last month, Mr. He tested Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) software in the U.S. and praised its performance in Silicon Valley and on highways. His visit aimed to prepare Xpeng for launching a similar pure-vision solution, the source told CnEVPost.

Xpeng is recognized as a strong contender in China’s smart driving sector, with its XNGP (Xpeng Navigation Guided Pilot) feature now covering nearly every city in the country. In recent efforts to expand XNGP coverage, LiDAR has been used primarily for dealing with static targets, according to CnEVPost.

The shift to a pure-vision system may align Xpeng’s technology with Tesla’s, particularly given Tesla’s adoption of end-to-end large modeling technology in FSD V12, which looks to be the first to solve autonomy.

Implementing LiDAR hardware is an added cost when producing an EV. Less cost means the opportunity for more profits and it looks like Xpeng might be following Tesla closer than expected here. Who’s next to attempt a switch to pure vision self-driving?