The battle is heating up between Tesla and its Chinese challenger Xpeng as the latter makes clearer its stance on the future of autonomous driving. Over the weekend, Xpeng, which counts Xiaomi and Alibaba among its investors, announced that it will be using lidar sensors from Livox, a startup with closes ties to the Chinese drone giant DJI.
The choice of remote sensing technology lidar and a Chinese supplier reflects the complexities of the U.S.-China tech war. Tesla has accused Xpeng of alleged intellectual property theft, a claim that the Chinese electric vehicle maker repeatedly denied. In a turn that surprises some industry experts, Xpeng said it will be adding lidar to its mass-produced autonomous cars in 2021, a strategy that would differentiate it from Tesla. Having seen Xpeng’s announcement, Elon Musk scoffed that Xpeng lacks Tesla’s technology.
Musk has long dismissed the use of lidar in autonomous driving,