New ET7 Electric Sedan Brings NIO Closer To Fully Autonomous Driving Capability
NIO, a Shanghai-headquartered Chinese automobile manufacturer specializing in designing and developing electric vehicles (EVs), recently introduced the world to its ET7 that brings the EV maker a step closer to the fully autonomous driving capability.
The ET7 employs NIO’s most up-to-date NIO Autonomous Driving (NAD) technology, which is based on NIO Aquila’s powerful suite of sensors and NIO Adam’s precise computing skills.
The innovative NAD full-stack autonomous driving capability includes perception algorithms, control strategy, localization and platform software. NIO Aquila includes 33 high-performance sensors, 11 8MP high-resolution cameras, and two positioning units with high precision, V2X, ADMS, 1 ultra-long-range high-resolution LiDAR, 5 millimeter-wave radars, and a dozen of ultrasonic sensors.
According to the company’s claims, NAD will offer safer as well as more relaxing autonomous or self-driving experience from one point to another, gradually covering expressways, urban areas, parking, and battery swapping.
NIO Aquila is capable of generating 8GB of data per second, while NIO Adam features four NVIDIA Orin supercomputers on a chip (SoCs). It has a total computing power of 1,016 tera operations per second (TOPS).
The use of the fully autonomous driving software has positioned NIO in direct challenge to Tesla, the world’s largest EV maker that has long been trying to equip its cars with fully autonomous capability.
For comparison, Palo Alto, California-based Tesla's autopilot system makes use of eight 1.2MP cameras in the Model S; while the NIO ET7 features eleven 8MP cameras. For computing, the American company employs two FDS chips with 144 TOPS, while NIO's four NVIDIA chips perform 1,016 TOPS. NIO is making use of LiDAR technology, which is totally absent in Tesla cars.
Tesla has repeatedly announced that it has no intention to use LiDAR in its cars as it is not necessary to make EVs fully autonomous. Moreover, Tesla believes that LiDAR is too expensive to be used in mass production cars.
Tesla EVs are widely available, and the company has already released a version of its Full Self Driving (FSD) to a small pool of customers for testing. NIO’s ET7 is expected to be ready sometime in the first quarter of 2022.
Meanwhile, NIO competitor Xpeng Motors has announced that it will start using the LiDAR technology in its production cars as soon as the second quarter of this year. If it really happens as planned, Xpeng will become the first automaker to use LiDAR in a production EVs.
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