Electric vehicle startup Xpeng has partnered with the e-commerce giant Alibaba to open an advanced computing center in northern China to develop software for driverless vehicles.
The largest intelligent computing center in the country, it is planned to be capable of computing speeds of up to 600 petaflops allowing it to run simulation tests 170 times faster than before. What would have previously taken Xpeng a week to compute can be done in just an hour, according to CNBC.
The center uses cloud-based computing technology from Alibaba, which is an Xpeng investor. The e-commerce company has reportedly been looking to bolster that division to counteract the slowdown in its core business. Named Fuyao, the center will be located in the Inner Mongolia region in northern China.
We're excited to announce the opening of Fu Yao, in collaboration with @alibaba_cloud.
Fu Yao is now the biggest intelligent computing center in China, allowing us to develop autonomous driving systems way more efficient than present, while greatly reducing R&D costs. #AI pic.twitter.com/zhT4kMSuof
— XPENG (@XPengMotors) August 2, 2022
Xpeng already has experience with advanced driver assistance technologies with its XPILOT feature. It also released City NGP last year, which allows its vehicles to change lanes, speed up, slow down, and even exit highways. Initially only offered for highway driving, like GM’s Super Cruise, the technology is now being rolled out for city driving, too.
The company is fighting in a highly competitive EV market in China, and it has tried to position itself more as a tech company than a car company. This move, then, is in keeping with its ethos and may help it compete with companies like BYD, NIO, and Tesla.
In addition to working on cars, Xpeng has also invested in areas such as robotics and flying passenger drones, which puts it into competition with Hyundai. The Korean company has invested heavily in passenger drones and thinks it can start commercial services within the coming years.
China’s policy-makers have largely welcomed the development of autonomous technology, and a number of cities have allowed automakers to launch robotaxi services.