What impacts have the trends of electrification and intelligentization brought to MPV and other similar vehicle types?

As of August 2022, the sales volume of MPVs in the domestic passenger car market has reached about 600,000 units. Among these 600,000 MPVs, domestic models and joint venture models are equally matched.

Although the sales of MPVs have declined compared to the same period last year, as the market demand for business travel continues to grow, and as more and more Chinese families have two or three children, consumers will pay more attention to the purchase of MPVs. Unfortunately, although the automotive industry has been shouting about intelligentization for many years, the intelligent equipment on MPV models, especially in the field of intelligent driving, has always been slow to catch up.

What kind of intelligent driving do MPVs need?

We can roughly divide the top 10 MPV models into two categories. One is the high-end MPVs of joint venture brands, such as Buick GL8, Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey, and Honda Elysion; the other is the independent brand camp represented by local Chinese brands such as Wuling Motors, GAC Motor, and Dongfeng Fengxing.

Buick, Toyota, and Honda, as old-fashioned automotive brands, have a stronger luxury feel. The independent brand camp mainly focuses on cost-effectiveness, equipped with basic intelligent driving functions, such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, etc.

As more and more Chinese families have two or three children, consumers pay more attention to the comfort of long-distance driving and the safety of daily use when choosing MPVs. Therefore, whether an MPV is equipped with advanced intelligent driving assistant functions has become an important indicator for consumers to choose a car. The brands and models that have noticed this may have taken a step ahead towards success. For example, the Tengshi D9.

So, what kind of driving assistant functions do MPVs actually need? We will use the advanced intelligent driving assistant system equipped on Tengshi D9, which is a particularly existent joint venture brand (BYD and Mercedes-Benz jointly established a high-end new energy vehicle brand in 2010), as an example to analyze it for everyone.

A powerful tool for long-distance travel – L2+ intelligent driving assistant system

I believe that those who have experienced long-distance travel during holidays will have a deep impression of the experience of sitting in the driver’s seat for more than ten hours. After using the smart navigation assistance function once, there will be an unforgettable feeling. As an MPV model with a high degree of intelligence in the field, the Tengshi D9 is equipped with the Tengshi Pilot advanced intelligent driving assistant system, which has reached the level of L2+. This makes travel safer and easier.“`

To do a good job, one must first sharpen one’s tools. The foundation of advanced intelligent driving assistance system is the rich in-vehicle sensors.

The BYD D9 is equipped with a front-facing camera with a maximum detection distance of 120 meters to recognize obstacles and lane markings ahead of the vehicle. In addition, to solve the potential risk of visual sensor failure under extreme weather conditions such as poor lighting or heavy rain and snow, the BYD D9 also carries a front-facing millimeter-wave radar with a maximum detection distance of 160 meters and four corner millimeter-wave radars with a detection distance of 80 meters. These sensors together form a 360° environmental perception capability, providing comfort and safety for L2+ cruise scenarios. The sensing range of sensors is shown in the following figure:

BYD D9 Driving Assistance Sensor and Detection Range Diagram

The L2+ intelligent navigation assistance function can be activated in scenarios with lane markings to achieve control of vehicle’s longitudinal and lateral movements, keeping the vehicle cruising within the lane; in scenarios without lane markings or traffic congestion, it will follow the nearest preceding vehicle target, greatly reducing the driver’s fatigue while driving.

At the same time, the Driver Monitoring System (DMS) installed in the car will monitor the driver’s driving status in real-time and give reminders when driving fatigue or distracted driving is detected, greatly improving the safety and comfort of long-distance travel.

In addition to the cruise function, the BYD D9 also has an interactive lane change assistance function. With the help of the four corner radars, the BYD D9 can recognize the targets in front and behind of the vehicle. So after the driver moves the turn signal lever, the system can autonomously complete the lane change if there is no danger. The target recognition of the front and rear of the vehicle is shown in the following GIF:

Lane Change Risk Judgment Diagram

“`### A boon for novices – RPA remote parking assist

As a vehicle with a length exceeding 5 meters and a width of nearly 2 meters, parking is always a headache for MPVs. Especially when other family members occasionally use them, it is easy to encounter situations where they cannot park too narrow parking spaces, or cannot get out of the car after parking. Therefore, in order to solve these parking problems, RPA remote parking assist function was born. The remote parking function allows the driver to complete the parking outside the car using a mobile phone within the line of sight.

The sensors called by the RPA remote parking assist function include four panoramic cameras and twelve ultrasonic radar sensors (also known as parking radar sensors), the sensing range is shown in the figure below:

At low cruising speed and after finding an empty parking space, the driver can put the car into the P gear and leave the car. Outside the car, use a mobile phone to send a parking instruction, and the vehicle will complete the parking operation autonomously. Its birth solves the embarrassing scene of difficult to open the car door after parking, such as parking in a parking lot where cars are parked on both sides, or in a relatively narrow parking space.

Remote parking diagram

RPA remote parking assist function is commonly used in high-end car models. With the popularity of intelligence, RPA function is increasingly used in car models with higher intelligence.


When it comes to car electrification and intelligence, we often think of sedans, SUVs, and even commercial vehicles, and easily neglect the MPV vehicle model. However, MPV vehicle models with high intelligence can bring excellent driving experience for both commercial use and family travel. It is believed that in the next two years, more and more car manufacturers will launch models with advanced intelligent driving assist systems like the Roewe Marvel X to meet consumers’ demand for commuting comfort and parking convenience.

This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email bd@42how.com.