The navigation guided pilot (NGP) function of Chinese EV maker XPeng has been opened to its P5 and other models. However, according to a report by China Consumer News on September 19, one XPeng P5 owner experienced several failures in NGP functionality while driving on the highway.
The vehicle owner purchased the XPeng P5 for 230,000 yuan ($32,810) in April this year, and paid another 12,500 yuan for an NGP assisted driving package on the day he picked up the car.
On July 4, the vehicle owner was driving on the highway at around 90km/h when the car suddenly sounded an alarm requiring him to immediately take over as the NGP had withdrawn from operation. Several notifications emerged later, such as “traffic sign recognition function is not available,” “lane departure warning function is faulty,” and “lane departure suppression function is faulty.” At the same time, the vehicle speed dropped rapidly from around 90 km/h to around 50 km/h.
This is the first time that NGP has withdrawn from the vehicle. The staff of the XPeng 4S shop said that the three-eye camera in front of the rearview mirror in the car may be dirty, leading to the withdrawal of NGP functionality. But the vehicle owner questioned the response: Why would a camera sealed within a mirror be dirty?
When the user drove the car on the highway later, the NGP automatically closed several times again. XPeng and its 4S shop analyzed a variety of possibilities including a dirty camera, sunlight, and any vulnerabilities of the NGP software system. The 4S shop proposed updating the software system, but could not guarantee that the problem would be solved 100 percent.
China Consumer News received a response from XPeng that the NGP was withdrawn due to the interference of a strong light on the three-eye camera, not the quality of the camera. The purpose of forced withdrawal from assisted driving is to avoid drivers’ over-reliance on assisted technology, which may cause misjudgment.
However, the car owner still could not accept this explanation. He said that the camera located in the windshield will be definitely exposed to bright light. The driving assistance system is too weak if it can be affected by bright light. Moreover, when the driver’s vision is blocked by strong light, the auxiliary driving system needs to play its role.
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According to XPeng, with the NGP, the vehicle can intelligently assist with on-ramp, overtaking and speed adjustment situations. NGP can also identify blocks and send notifications to drivers. On September 17, XPeng announced that the urban NGP has been piloted in Guangzhou and will be introduced to some XPeng P5 users in the near future.