Xpeng aims to roll out driver assistance software to all Chinese cities by 2024

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Electric vehicle maker Xpeng said on Friday it is upgrading its advanced driver assistance software and plans to make all of its functions available to drivers across China by 2024, as it seeks to gain an edge over U.S. rival Tesla.

Xpeng’s XNGP Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) is similar to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) technology, which the U.S. automaker rolled out four years ago but has yet to make available in China despite customers urging it to do so.

Xpeng currently offers XNGP in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, where drivers of its G9 Max and P7i Max cars can rely on the software to complete most trips on urban streets without intervention, said Xpeng’s vice president Wu Xinzhou at a media event on Friday.

During the remainder of the first half of the year, Xpeng plans to update the system to enable vehicles in more cities to react to traffic lights and avoid obstructions like construction work, pedestrians and cyclists at intersections, the company said.

Further updates in the second half would enable vehicles to automatically change lanes, overtake and make left or right turns, it said.

It is aiming for the software to be available and functional across China by 2024, it added.

Xpeng is also changing its technology so that future XNGP updates will not rely on maps, where there are Chinese regulatory constraints, but on algorithms and sensors.

Xpeng is counting on the technology to attract customers after its car sales fell more than 40% to 11,228 in the first two months of the year, underperforming the overall EV segment in China.

Tesla sold 60,766 EVs in China in the same period, 43% more than a year ago.

However, Tesla has faced complaints, investigations and lawsuits in the United States that it overstates the effectiveness and safety of electric vehicles’ Autopilot and FSD.

(Reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)