China’s Alibaba teams up with Xpeng, Tesla rival, on self-driving cars

XPeng remains focused on increasing sales of its electric vehicles. But he focused on building the future of the flying car and robotics business.

Qilai Shen | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and launch of the electric car Xpeng on Tuesday, the two companies said they were opening a computing center to train self-driving car software.

Autonomous driving systems require huge amounts of data to be processed in order to train algorithms.

Xpeng claims the new computing center will cut the training time for its core autonomous driving model from seven days to an hour.

The Guangzhou-headquartered company will use Alibaba’s cloud division technology for its computing needs. The computing center, called Fuyao, will be located in the Inner Mongolia region in northern China.

Alibaba, an investor in Xpeng, is trying to bolster its cloud computing division amid the crisis. slowdown in its core commercial business. The move also highlights how Chinese tech giants are trying to jump into the fast-growing field of electric vehicles.

Tencent, for example, trying to position himself as a technology company that foreign automakers can use for various automotive technology related services when they enter the Chinese market.

For Xpeng, the move is indicative of a drive to get ahead in China’s fiercely competitive electric vehicle market and try to challenge the giants. Tesla and supported by Warren Buffett BYD. Chinese electric vehicle start-ups Not Xpeng is looking at autonomous driving features as a way to do this.

Xpeng has advanced driver assistance system, or ADAS, called XPILOT, installed on some of its vehicles. Users who choose this feature can get some offline features such as automatic lane switching.

Xpeng launched City NGP last yearwhich means navigational pilot. The system allows Xpeng vehicles to change lanes, accelerate or decelerate, overtake vehicles, enter and exit highways. Previously, the system was developed only for highways, but now it is also developed for cities.

Xpeng tried to position itself as a technology company rather than an automaker. investing in areas such as robotics and flying passenger drones.

Chinese regulators are, for the most part, very encouraging of autonomous driving technology. Various cities across the country have allowed domestic self-driving car manufacturers to test and even run robotaxis services too.