XPeng replaces LiDAR with Tesla FSD camera-only approach

XPeng replaces LiDAR with Tesla FSD camera-only approach

Xpeng Motors

Beijing is preparing to relax rules governing robotaxis in a potential boon for Tesla. Chinese automakers are now ditching expensive autonomous driving components like LiDAR, too, just like Tesla.

China is preparing for the mass autonomous driving era, and shares of the mapping service provider Baidu shot up on the news that its Apollo robotaxi service is becoming profitable.

So much so, that local taxi drivers in Wuhan, which deems itself “the world’s largest autonomous-driving operation service region,” are protesting against Baidu’s Apollo Go robotaxis that are cheaper than taking a cab with a driver.

After Wuhan, other big cities like Shenzhen and Shanghai have allowed robotaxis on their public roads, too, and Tesla recently scored a permission to test FSD in Shanghai. Beijing has also prepared legislation relaxing the robotaxi regulations for use in the capital. In China, Tesla uses Baidu’s mapping and navigation services, and has met the vehicle autonomy compliance requirements of government regulators.

Tesla’s CEO will announce a standalone Robotaxi and its Cybercab ride-share platform on August 8. Given that China is already ahead in the regulation and proliferation of driverless cabs, Tesla is rumored to test its own Robotaxi there first.

Chinese automakers are seemingly also learning from Tesla’s approach to cut manufacturing costs when it comes to autonomous driving. They have long relied on more cameras, LiDAR, and sensors for it than Tesla.

XPeng, however, one of the self-driving technology pioneers in China, teased its next generation P7+ sedan that will apparently ditch expensive LiDAR in favor of Tesla’s Vision-only camera approach.

Its CEO was recently in the US and tested Tesla’s FSD feature, so that’s what might have tipped the scales. XPeng was the first automaker to install LiDAR in a production vehicle, so the move would be a testament to the viability of Tesla’s camera-only FSD solution.

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