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Future models - Haval - Wey X

Beijing show: Wey X takes high road to autonomy

X-Force: The X SUV concept from Haval’s luxury sub-brand Wey points to future technologies coming to market from the Chinese auto giant.

Wey concept demonstrates Haval’s fast-paced development of autonomous cars

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Haval logo24 Apr 2018

By TERRY MARTIN and TUNG NGUYEN in BEIJING

HAVAL has unveiled a sleek, pure-electric and fully autonomous crossover concept dubbed the X on the eve of the Beijing motor show this week, pointing the way to future model segments and technology as the SUV specialist consolidates its presence beyond China to western markets – including Australia.

Marketed under Haval’s China-only Wey luxury sub-brand, the X is based on the XEV concept presented at the Frankfurt show last year and demonstrates the rapid rate of development underway at Haval’s parent Great Wall Motors in areas such as autonomous driving and electrified powertrains.

Whereas the XEV was equipped with Level 3 autonomous functionality, which allows for a high degree of automation and is beginning to reach series production among the leading auto manufacturers, the X is at Level 5 – generally a separate development stream in which the car is designed to operate without driver assistance and will initially be confined to tightly controlled environments in select markets.

It also has vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology that Haval says “identifies and predicts potential risks in advance to minimise the potential for accidents”.

The X concept builds on Great Wall and Haval chairman Jack Wey’s commitment made last year – at the unveiling of the XEV and the near-production P8 plug-in hybrid – to reach Level 4 autonomy “in the next two years”.

Although some distance from production, the concept is also part of a fast-tracked development program for electrified vehicles.

Indeed, Haval Australia has forecast that 30 per cent of its Australian sales should come from electrified vehicles by 2022, while this week’s Beijing show is expected to host the world debut of an all-new all-electric model under yet another sub-brand, Ora.

Speaking to GoAuto en route to Beijing, Haval Australia public relations and product specialist Andrew Ellis said the Australian market was still “a long way off” from having the infrastructure to cope with Level 5 motoring.

“L3 (Level 3) is probably as far advanced as Australia can go at the moment, but the fact that we’re right on the cutting edge, that’s exciting,” he said.

Full details on the X are expected to come with the concept’s official presentation in Beijing, but the initial photographs point to its Level 5 autonomy with no steering wheel, pedals or driver input.

Instead, the interior features a wraparound widescreen display that provides information such as driving speed, traffic information and media.

The Wey X also does away with traditional features such an ignition or push-button start in favour of a cutting-edge biometric facial recognition system that can identify different drivers and set up preferences such as seat position and music selection accordingly.

Underpinning the self-driving systems will be an artificial intelligence system that, according to Haval, can “mirror that of a highly trained human driver, in scenarios including dirt roads and bad weather”.

It appears the AI assistant can also be displayed to passengers via a projected hologram.

Powertrain details remain under wraps for the time being, but Haval has confirmed that full-electric propulsion is used – as indicated by the mostly solid front grille and lack of exhaust outlets.

Sleek headlights and a chiselled lower chin complete the look up front, while the long bonnet, high waistline, slim glasshouse, sloping roof and bright orange paintwork add to the Wey X’s eye-catching looks.

As GoAuto has reported, the Wey P8 plug-in hybrid – which, after being shown in Frankfurt last September, appeared in production form at the Guangzhou show in November – is just the sort of vehicle Haval Australia would love to have available in this market, although right-hand-drive variants are still to be confirmed.

Part of the problem is that because Wey remains a Chinese domestic sub-brand at this stage, the only way the P8 or its technology could come to Australia was under Haval badges – but there are no immediate plans for that.

Semi-autonomous driver-assist features on the P8, which is at Level 2, include autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-change assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, 360-degree camera and a streaming rearview mirror.

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