On September 23, some netizens in China broke the news that a Xpeng P7 owner was using the NGP automatic navigation assisted driving system as it collided with a truck.
The accident caused slight injuries to the driver. From the owner’s description, the vehicle was in NGP mode when the collision occurred. When the automatic navigation assisted driving system was active, the P7 did not accurately identify the distance of the front car, whose speed was about 60 km/h. The driver trusted the system to slow down automatically and failed to intervene in time. When the vehicle is getting closer and closer to the truck in front, the Xpilot automatic driving assistance system does not recognize the large truck ahead. This situation caused a crash with the rear side of the semi-truck.
An official of Xpeng Motors said that after the accident, they had been assigned and processed the customer’s driving data based on the background detection, also conducting a preliminary analysis. Before the collision, the system’s front vehicle identification and control, seat belt vibration reminder, vehicle warning, AEB and other functions worked in normal conditions. They will do further analysis of the results after the owner of the car has recovered.
According to official website of Xpeng Motors, the P7 is equipped with 31 sensors for advanced driver assistance functions, including ultrasonic sensors, high-definition millimeter wave radars and advanced driver assistance cameras. The firm claims these features allow the vehicle to actively detect its surrounding environment, alert the driver to potential risks and promptly assist the driver when necessary.
After the automatic driving function is turned on, ultrasonic sensors and high-definition millimeter wave radars will sense the target, then the system will execute corresponding actions.
According to the analysis of experts on autonomous driving, the reason for the failure of perception may lie in the visual camera. When the vehicle crashed with the rear-end of the large truck, it was a flatbed vehicle with an extended part of the tail that did not carry any cargo. This may have caused a misjudgment by the system of Xpeng P7.
This kind of situation is not rare. In the past two months, two NOP accidents involving Nio vehicles happened. In addition, a Tesla Model 3 crashed into a rollover white truck last year. All of these accidents were caused by the failure of visual perception caused by unusually shaped vehicles in front.