Xpeng announced this week that it has become the first automaker to receive the Guangzhou Intelligent Vehicle Road Test Permit on an unmodified commercial vehicle. It will now begin testing the G9 SUV’s autonomous functions on public roads in China.
To qualify for the permit, Xpeng says that it only had to perform software updates to the G9 electric SUV. It did not, however, have to make any hardware changes to the vehicle to prepare for on-road testing.
“Securing the autonomous driving road testing permit for a commercial vehicle is a strong endorsement of our autonomous driving deep R&D and software capabilities,” said Dr. Xinzhou Wu, Vice President of Autonomous Driving Center at Xpeng. “Our approach by using mass-produced commercial vehicles to explore mobility solutions will build a strong foundation to realize economies of scale. Significant cost efficiency brings us another step closer to commercializing robotaxis in the future.”
Read: XPeng G9 Offers Up To 543 HP And Is The World’s Fastest Charging Electric SUV
A major step in the company’s goal to move into the robotaxi space, Xpeng says it expects to leverage its platform-based technology stack to train its advanced driver assistance and autonomous driving systems. That will help it speed the development of software for its self-driving vehicles.
Unveiled a year ago, the Xpeng G9 is a five-seat electric crossover that makes up to 543 hp (405 kW/551 PS) and 529 lb-ft (717 Nm) of torque in its most powerful trim. In more range-focused trims, it can go up to 436 miles (702 km) on a single charge.
Thanks to its 800V charging technology, Xpeng claims that the G9 is the “world’s fastest-charging mass-production SUV.” That means that at 480 kW, it can recover up to 124 miles (200 km) in range in as little as five minutes. Charging from 10-80 percent, meanwhile, takes just 15 minutes.
It is thanks to its suite of 31 sensors, a forward facing camera, and dual LiDAR sensors that it has all the hardware necessary to drive autonomously without modifications. All of that information is handled by two Nvidia Drive Orin chips.
Deliveries of the customer vehicle started in China last month, with prices starting at ¥309,900 ($42,441 USD at current exchange rates). Xpeng is likely to offer the G9 in foreign markets, too, as it was “purposefully designed” for international sales.