Nio's Navigate on Pilot now available in Beijing

Max McDee, 11 July 2023

Only last week Nio decided to take its NOP+ autonomous system out of the extensive Beta program and began taking subscription payments from customers. In Beijing the system was limited to certain roads initially but as a sign of confidence in its software, Nio is expanding the area to cover the vast road network around the city.

NOP+ is a prime example of the ongoing efforts of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturers to edge closer to autonomous driving. It's interesting to note that it's not the first of its kind; XPeng’s City NGP has already made its presence known in Beijing. However, the simultaneous evolution of these competing technologies only underlines the transformative direction in which the auto industry is heading.

Beijing ring roads and highways now part of Nio's Navigate on Pilot software

Nio has confirmed that NOP+ will be available on all of Beijing's urban ring roads, spanning the 2nd to 5th rings, as well as the city's fast roads and highways. The company is promising a "more coherent and convenient travel experience". What exactly this entails and how it plays out in real-world driving situations remains to be seen.

The NOP+ software has already seen a free Beta trial period of 185 days, with over 52,000 users getting a first-hand feel of the system. The accumulated coverage during this trial reached an impressive 26,631,900 miles. This extensive testing and user engagement suggest a significant level of preparedness and maturity of the system as it steps into official deployment.

One of the key features of the upgraded version of NOP+ is the integration of a Bird's Eye View (BEV) with an occupancy network perception model. This advanced perception architecture is designed to display a wider array of information, including dynamic models, road elements, vehicle taillights, and turn signals. This is aimed at reducing the frequency of assisted driving downgrades, potentially leading to a smoother driving experience.

Nio vehicles already use autonomous software at battery-swap stations Nio vehicles already use autonomous software at battery-swap stations

Nio's future plans for NOP+ include extending its functionality to cover battery swap scenarios in highway service areas. This ambitious undertaking could bring about a significant advancement in the convenience of EV usage, particularly for long-distance travel.

Nio's NOP+ offers the prospect of a more convenient, technologically advanced driving experience. However, only time and widespread user experience will truly confirm if it can deliver on its promises. The prospect of an autonomous driving technology that actually works, and is safe, is as much tantalizing as it seems to be still elusive.


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