On April 7, media reports show that China’s top-tier electric vehicle manufacturer, XPeng or Xiaopeng Motors, has commenced R&D for owned self-driving chips. The project has been rolling for several months and involves an initial team of ten people working in both China and the United States. Benny Katibian, Chief Technology and Operation Advisor for XPeng’s North American unit will lead the chip project outside China. In optimal circumstances, XPeng can expect finalized chip design at the end of this year or early next year.
There have been signs and forecasts of Xiaopeng’s independent chips R&D endeavours. Just last week, XPeng’s competitor NIO announced a production suspension for five working days under the impact of chip shortage. Market analysis company AutoForecast anticipates a cumulative reduction of 1.157 million vehicles in the global auto market due to unmet chip demands. Planning ahead, Xiaopeng Motors CEO He Xiaopeng indicated at the end of 2020 that the company will increase R&D investment in 2021, including for hardware related to autonomous driving.