Chinese electric vehicle maker XPeng Inc. (NYSE: XPEV) is working on developing dedicated chips for autonomous driving and could launch them by the end of this year or early next year, according to a report by 36kr (via cnEVpost).
What Happened: Xpeng is working simultaneously in China and the U.S. on the chip development project, as per the report. The chip project in North America is reportedly led by Xpeng North America COO Benny Katibian, while the China team is led by Xpeng co-president Xia Heng.
The chip project was launched by Xpeng several months ago and has a team of less than 10 people to it, according to the report, which cited industry sources with access to Xpeng executives. Xpeng is said to be actively recruiting chip technicians in China.
While reporting its fourth-quarter results in March, Xpeng CEO He Xiaopeng said his company is pursuing a suite of cutting-edge Smart EV technologies and products, including the next-generation autonomous driving system and powertrain platform that will be applied to the company’s future smart models.
Why It Matters: The report about Xpeng’s work on chip development comes as automakers globally face a semiconductor chip shortage.
Chinese EV automakers, including Xpeng, Nio Limited (NYSE: NIO) and Li Auto Inc. (NASDAQ: LI) are now working on developing new electric vehicle technologies, including ultra-fast charging, next-generation computing platforms and autonomous driving technologies.
Xpeng, which has a SUV named G3 and a sedan named P7, expects to launch automotive-grade lidar technology in its third smart SUV model to be delivered in the second half of 2021.
The company also plans to introduce XPILOT 4.0, built on its next-gen autonomous driving hardware platform, which it expects to deploy in its fourth model to be launched in 2022.
Xpeng will likely see volume sales grow thanks to its advanced autonomous driving technology and product competitiveness, according to Bofa Securities analyst Ming Hsun Lee.
Price Action: Xpeng shares closed 7.9% lower on Wednesday at $34.07.
Photo Courtesy: Xpeng
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