Chinese electric vehicle startup Xpeng has been given the nod to test its autonomous cars in the U.S., according to the company’s chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng.
The executive said on his microblog Weibo account on Friday that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a vehicle import license to Xpeng allowing the firm’s domestically made P7 electric sports sedan to perform closed-loop self-driving tests on American roads. Such licenses are normally granted to non-U.S.-manufactured vehicles to be tested in the U.S. for the purpose of scientific research.
Xpeng boasts that the P7 is a “smart electric sedan” as it is powered by Nvidia’s autonomous vehicle chip, Qualcomm’s vehicle processor, high-precision positioning technology and a sensing system made up of 12 ultrasonic sensors, 5 millimeter-wave radars and 13 auto-assisted driving cameras. The company said that it will officially launch the P7 and start deliveries within China in the second quarter of 2020.
Xpeng is doubling down on its research and development in self-driving technologies with plans to equip its production models with Level 3 technology in 2020. Level 3 autonomy allows a car to drive itself in specific environmental conditions as long as a human driver can take manual control in the event of an emergency.
Earlier this month, the Alibaba-backed startup said that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) had rated the P7 as being able to travel 706 kilometers on a single charge, longer than any other electric vehicle sold in China can run.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (firstname.lastname@example.org)