SAIC, the parent company of MG, has previewed its latest fully electric SUV coupe concept, the R Auto ES33.
R Auto will be the state-owned automaker’s newest brand, and its focus will be entirely on creating electric vehicles.
SAIC has confirmed, although still in its concept stage, production-ready models of the ES33 are expected to be launched in the Chinese domestic market next year.
The contemporary SUV’s interior will also be unveiled in a few weeks at the Shanghai Auto Show on Monday, April 19.
The EV SUV will be constructed around an entirely new electric-only chassis called ‘R-TECH high-energy intelligent body’.
According to the carmaker, the EV architecture is the result of a $4 billion investment, and will "herald key partnerships with some of the world’s most advanced sensor and computing companies, and provides a compelling glimpse into the future for upcoming products".
The R-Tech body will have the capacity to interchange batteries and hardware components, which could be a potential game-changer in the EV space.
Also built into the body of the ES33 are no less than 33 different sensors including; laser radars, 4D imaging radars and 22 separate cameras, which can be found in and around the vehicle.
US manufacturer Luminar has also worked with SAIC on creating bespoke lidar sensors, which are built into the roof of the ES33.
SAIC claims these lidar sensors, working in conjunction with the 4D imaging radars, will create awareness so powerful that the car’s onboard computers will be able to detect objects as small as a soft drink can 140 metres down the road.
5G-V2X mobile connectivity will also come equipped with the next-gen concept, and according to the Chinese firm, this will allow the ES33 to function with full ‘level five’ autonomy.
This is a very big claim, as level five autonomy, according to the SAE International classification, means the ES33 will be capable of driving itself completely without any human interaction – the vehicle may not even need a steering wheel.
To put that in further context, Tesla's ‘Full Self-Driving Beta’, which is the manufacturer’s most advanced autonomous software currently being utilised, is only classified as offering 'level two’ autonomy.
SAIC says all this will be possible thanks to the immense computing power of the ‘DRIVE AGX Orin chip’ made by NVIDIA.
The space-age chip has been, according to NVIDIA, "developed to enable architecturally compatible platforms that scale from a level 2 to full self-driving level 5 vehicle, enabling OEMs to develop large-scale and complex families of software products".
As a result, the chip and its 17 billion transistors can reportedly perform 200 trillion operations per second.
This all sounds quite ground-breaking in the EV space, however, an MG Australia spokesperson has commented that the ES33 is still a concept at this stage, and its purpose is to showcase what may be possible in the future.
The representative also said MG Australia was currently in discussions with SAIC about the possibility of a production-ready variant of the EV SUV concept being brought to Australia and badged as an MG product.
WhichCar will bring you more details about the R Auto ES33 as it becomes available.
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