Chinese startup, DeepWay, has teamed up with famed Italian design studio, Pininfarina, to create a semi-autonomous truck. The electrified heavy-duty truck, Xingtu, was designed to improve the efficiency, comfort and sustainability of long-haul transit.
Founded in 2020, DeepWay, backed by internet mega-firm, Baidu, disrupted the industry when it announced it would collaborate with Turin-based design firm, Pininfarina, to create the striking EV semi.
While the name may only be familiar to motoring enthusiasts, Pininfarina is responsible for some of the most beautiful cars since the advent of the internal combustion engine. Some notable vehicles include the Ferrari F430, F458, F40, and the Enzo. Not limited to Ferraris, the Italian firm has also collaborated with Hyundai, Rolls-Royce, Mitsubishi, Peugeot and Fiat.
When speaking about the design of the Xingtu truck, lead designer Matteo Paguzzi said it reflected the fast developing environment where new technology allows smart vehicles to connect, increasing heavy-duty transportation safety.
Paguzzi told the media the sleek, aerodynamic design coupled with DeepWay’s technical expertise resulted in an iconic shape.
Xingtu is equipped with 11 onboard cameras, a sophisticated Lidar system, infrared detectors and 5mm radar systems. The arsenal of sensory gadgetry enables Xingtu to spot vehicles and obstacles up to a kilometre away.
The futuristic EV employs DeepWay’s Highway Intelligence System (HIS) based on Baidu’s existing autonomous driving platform. HIS reportedly takes 100 milliseconds to execute a function in the event the onboard cameras pick up an anomaly on the roadway.
The massive truck is powered by an equally hefty 450kWh battery pack, capable of moving the behemoth even when at maximum load (49 tons). Recharging the beefy battery will only cost a long-haul driver an hour. In areas where battery swapping is available, the Xingtu can replace a spent unit in just over six minutes, according to CarScoops.
The vehicle’s interior design was just as deliberate as the outer. Inside the cabin, drivers are greeted by a massive touch-screen infotainment system, DeepWay’s intelligent voice assistant and oversized seats.
Xingtu also features small screens mounted on either door handle, above the A-pillar, and above the driver-side windshield allowing for a commanding view and improving driver awareness.
DeepWay said it intends to enter production halfway through 2023, with an initial delivery target of around 1000 units. In the meantime, the company said it would continue to focus on research and development in the long-haul trucking industry and promote level 4 autonomous technology.