GUANGZHOU, China – Chinese electric car maker Xpeng Motors is looking to create its own autonomous driving semiconductors to stay ahead of the competition, the company’s CEO told CNBC.
The comments came after the technology news website 36Kr reported that Xpeng had assembled a small semiconductor development team.
Xinzhou Wu, vice president in charge of autonomous driving at Xpeng, said the company is exploring various technologies, including autonomous driving chips.
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“But going forward, we’re looking at all the possible options: how to keep us … to win this race,”
Asked if that included researching internal chipsets, Wu said, “That’s one of the guidelines, yes.”
Wu did not give more details.
Xpeng released a new electric sedan called the P5 on Wednesday. The vehicle is equipped with Lidar technology or either light detection and range technology, which uses lasers to map the surroundings of the vehicle.
This is crucial to enable some of the P5’s built-in autonomous driving features.
The P5 currently uses chips from Nvidia for autonomous driving and Qualcomm for its in-car digital cockpit.
Xpeng Motors launches the P5 sedan at an event in Guangzhou, China on April 14, 2021. The P5 is Xpeng’s third production model and features so-called Lidar technology.
Arjun Harpal | CNBC
Designing your own semiconductors can give Xpeng more control over the integration between its hardware and software.
The company focuses on domestic technology development as a way to differentiate itself from competitors in China’s overcrowded electric vehicle market. Xpeng is not only competing with traditional carmakers and startups, but more and more technology companies such as Baidu and Xiaomi have also jumped into the battle.
Wu claims that the P5’s hardware and software and “the usability of the full features is much more advanced” than the competition – and this would give the company an “advantage”.
Chinese technology companies are increasingly focusing on developing their semiconductors. Last month, Baidu raised money for its chip business, and Xiaomi unveiled a new chipset for the camera of its latest flagship smartphone.