When Xpeng (XPEV -4.03%) premieres its P5 smart electric vehicle (EV) at a press briefing in Guangzhou, China, on Wednesday, it will mark the automaker's third production model and will be the first one to feature lidar sensors to enhance its advanced driver-assist systems.
Xpeng says the P5 will be the first mass-produced smart EV with automotive-grade lidar technology, which bounces laser-light pulses off of objects to measure the time it takes for the beams to reflect back. In doing so, the sensors are meant to be able to determine the presence, shape, and distance of the objects with pinpoint accuracy. It promises to become a key technology for autonomous vehicles.
Although Xpeng already offers a self-driving car, the lidar-equipped model could prove popular by allowing for hands-free driving in city conditions because it ought to significantly improve the vehicle's precision object recognition.
Xpeng first announced the P5 at last year's Auto Guangzhou 2020 auto show. It says the car will be powered by its XPILOT autonomous driving system. It includes high-definition cameras, millimeter-wave radar, ultrasonic sensors, and high-precision GPS and mapping systems.
Xpeng has emerged as a strong competitor to Tesla (TSLA -1.05%) in China with its advanced smart EVs and focus on autonomous driving and vehicle connectivity.
It says the P5 will be featured at Auto Shanghai 2021 on April 19, where all the details of the EV's configurations, performance, and pricing will be made available.