A fatal ES8 crash has brought NIO's NOP (Navigation on Pilot) feature into the spotlight and more details is coming out.
The young entrepreneur who died in the crash, Lin Wenqin, drove a total of 5,960 kilometers in July and used NOP for 52.2 percent of the miles, or 3,113 kilometers, according to a copy of the car's driving data obtained by caijing.com.cn.
Lin, the founder of Chinese restaurant brand Meiyihao, died in a traffic accident while driving an NIO ES8 in Fujian last Thursday. An obituary released by his company said the car had the NOP function on at the time.
Lin's referrer for the car, Lin Weiwei, said his friend became very trusting of NOP.
The driver, who bought the car less than a year ago, became so trusting of NOP through constant familiarity that he may have let the system operate the car while driving, the report quoted auto analyst Zhang Xiang as saying.
After the accident, NIO responded that NOP was not self-driving, but only assisted driving.
The prevailing view is that all smart cars sold in China only support L2 assisted driving, so NIO is not primarily responsible for the accident.
NIO may not be liable for this, and the company defines its smart driving level as L2 assisted driving, giving it a lot of room to maneuver, autohome.com.cn said on Sunday citing Han Qingwen, an associate professor at Chongqing University's School of Microelectronics and Communication Engineering.
From what is known so far, the user was likely using the L2 assisted driving system as L4 autonomous driving, he said.
From a legal point of view, as long as NIO did not claim that its product is L3 and above, the user is primarily responsible for accidents caused by improper use, Han said.