On the day of the 1024 Programmers Festival, the sky is clear and cloudless.
Some people are lining up at Sanlitun, hoping to be the first to take an elegant group photo with the latest iPhone 12 and the newest technology. And others are watching the two-hour-long livestream of the “XPeng Motors Intelligent Day” at home, just to see what new ways intelligent cars, which are cooler than mobile phones, can be played with.
Full-Scene Voice Control
Before today’s livestream, last night, some XPeng P7 owners actually shared their experience of using the brand new full-scene voice control function in the new travel community.
Their main feedback can be summarized into two points:
Firstly, the XPeng intelligent voice assistant can do more things now, and is linked with third-party applications or some mini programs; Secondly, XPeng is not as noisy as before, and multiple commands can be executed with a single wake-up.
This may sound a bit vague, but to explain the upgrade of the voice technology in XPeng’s official jargon, there are four aspects: “continuous conversation, visible speech recognition, semantic interruption, and dual-tone locking.”
In fact, none of these four upgrade points is the newest technology breakthroughs. Even “visible speech recognition,” which sounds so flashy and seems to give users superpowers, has been implemented by Baidu earlier this year.
So, what makes the full-scene voice control that XPeng launched this time so amazing?
You will find that the accuracy of XPeng’s recognition reaches the level of “opening the car window by one percent” or “reverting the music by 37 seconds,” which is something no other smart car on the market can do.
Moreover, XPeng’s “visible speech recognition” is more comprehensive than Baidu’s. It not only links to more vehicle control settings but also can understand users’ speech more broadly. Thus, users only need to say a few keywords in a sentence, such as a single word in the title of an English song.
In addition, based on the full-scene voice control function, XPeng has significantly reduced the time cost for users to learn the in-car system, which is an innovation that surprises me a lot.
For example, a user can ask XPeng “where is the single-pedal mode?” The system will automatically jump to the corresponding secondary interface after recognition and display the prompt “Here” on the central control screen, which is very convenient.
By this point, XPeng P7 owners may already be eager to boast to their friends. But it’s not over yet! XPeng has also brought more personalized combinations of voice commands to the full-scene voice control function, like the “cinema mode” that has already appeared on other on-board systems. We can take the example of the “Old Three” below to see how it works:The user has preset a set of command combinations on their mobile phone, including “open sports mode”, “open playlist”, and “navigate home”, with the voice command trigger set to “the usual”. The next day, when the user enters the XPeng P7, everything is ready just by calling out this command. It looks like the convenience brought by the combination commands runs counter to XPeng’s recognition accuracy that has been honed. Users may not “trouble” XPeng to do complicated things most of the time.
However, in my opinion, what users really need from a voice assistant at this stage is at least two criteria: effective and timely companionship.
That is, when I need a voice assistant to help me solve problems, it can be efficient, accurate, and fast. And when I want a quiet driving atmosphere, after a combination command is executed once I enter the car, it can silently keep me company without disturbing me.
This may sound a bit like a scumbag, but this is the reality.
XPeng also introduced us to the upcoming XPILOT3.0 system, in addition to full-scenario voice function. The XPeng P7 XPILOT3.0 assisted driving system mainly includes two functions: NGP high-speed navigation assisted driving system and parking memory parking function.
It can be seen that it competes directly with Tesla’s NoA automatic assistance navigation driving system and automatic parking function. It is understood that these two functions will be gradually pushed to users from the end of this year to early next year.
We know that Tesla has always been very aggressive in autonomous driving. Not long ago, it even pushed the beta version of FSD to a small number of users for experience. However, even Tesla, as powerful as it is, will encounter difficulties in the face of China’s complex road conditions.
At the press conference, Dr. Wu Xinzhou, Vice President of XPeng’s Autonomous Driving, demonstrated through a video a convoy situation with continuous inexplicable lane changes and deviation into the service area that occurred during Tesla’s actual testing.
Dr. Wu continued to explain, “China’s enclosed high-speed road conditions are still very complicated. Compared with the United States, we have the most complicated overpasses in the world, longer ramps, more traffic signs, and more mixed traffic participants.” Tesla’s NoA may be like a fish in water in the US, but it still has a long way to go in China. One important reason why XPeng NGP defeats Tesla NoA is that XPeng’s autonomous driving solution was initially developed for Chinese road conditions.Apart from that, the perfect 360-degree surround view system coupled with the powerful computing support of NVIDIA’s Xavier makes the autonomous driving hardware configuration of XPeng P7 the strongest among mass-produced cars. Based on this, XPeng’s NGP not only has general functions such as automatic speed limit adjustment but also develops special functions that are more suitable for Chinese roads, including traffic cone recognition and avoidance, super-following in congested roads, and night-time overtaking reminders.
On the other hand, XPeng has also made great efforts in parking scenarios, launching the parking lot memory parking function. XPeng believes that the iteration of autonomous parking can be divided into four stages: automatic parking, forward parking, memory parking, and the final autonomous parking. Automatic parking and autonomous parking are easy to understand, with one only able to realize the parking action, while the other is completely “autonomous driving” from the underground garage. So what is memory parking?
Dr. Wu confidently stated that “XPeng P7’s parking lot memory parking function is the first autonomous parking system that can be mass-produced and does not depend on parking lot transformation.” In other words, XPeng P7 does not need to “communicate” with the sensors in the parking lot. Through comprehensive spatial construction and positioning capabilities, users can automatically remember and sketch the map of the parking lot after using XPeng P7 for parking once.
When you come to the parking lot for the second time, XPeng P7 can start low-speed autonomous driving from the underground garage. During this period, XPeng P7 actively detects and avoids retrograde vehicles and will also actively avoid pedestrians who suddenly appear. Finally, when your frequently used parking space is detected, it is the final step of automatic parking.
After watching the live broadcast of XPeng Smart Day, I have two main feelings:
The first clear feeling is that XPeng has a very strong programmer’s mindset. Perhaps because of the influence of He XPeng, you will find that the goal of XPeng P7’s iterative evolution is to make its functions more powerful and more complete. No car company on the market will require my voice team to control the windows with 99% accuracy, but XPeng will. Maybe they don’t have the emotional care that NOMI can give you, but when it comes to function, we must strive for excellence and be the strongest.## Second, I think XPeng’s route has been very clear. Two years ago, if you said that XPeng Motors was a Chinese disciple of Tesla, XPeng might not have too much to defend. But now, XPeng has developed NGP high-speed navigation assisted driving system and parking memory parking function, which are more in line with the Chinese road conditions, surpassing Tesla’s assisted driving experience in China.
As XPeng said, “within ten years, automatic assisted driving is the most important symbol of intelligent cars. However, within five to fifteen years, the transformation of intelligent cockpit will be the most important symbol of future intelligent cars.” XPeng Motors not only has automatic driving capabilities comparable to Tesla’s, but also has a more comprehensive deep cultivation in the field of intelligent cockpit.
In the future, when advanced assisted driving “serves” the intelligent cockpit, XPeng Motors’ intelligent technology will be more deeply integrated into people’s hearts than Tesla.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.