Innovation

Alibaba puts internet in cars, plans to take drivers out

CHINA-AUTO-ALIBABA (File) Jack Ma, Alibaba's founder and chairman, speaks during the launch of the Roewe RX5 car in Hangzhou, in eastern China's Zhejiang province | AFP
  • The car is able to take direct commands through smart voice control, creating a more natural and safer driving environment. Audio is the primary mode for controlling the system.

Chinese tech firm Alibaba on Thursday launched a first-of-its-kind "internet-connected car" that can be scaled up for mass production in the near future.

Alibaba and the country's largest automaker SAIC Motor Corp demonstrated their jointly developed car equipped with the YunOS operating system, which can link up with smart phones, at an event in eastern China's Hangzhou on Wednesday. The car is slated to go on sale later this year.

"You'll quickly see driverless car technology resulting from this platform," Chief Technology Officer Wang Jian said.

The car has advanced fuel technology, more powerful accelerator, lower oil consumption and have a shorter braking distance.

With cloud-based data, YunOS provides OS’Car RX5 drivers with a series of innovative features like an intelligent map.

The car is able to take direct commands through smart voice control, creating a more natural and safer driving environment. Audio is the primary mode for controlling the system.

Equipped with up to four detachable action cameras, it enables video recordings of the journey and 360-degree in-car selfies.

The selfies can be shared instantly with friends via the connected smartphone.

As the first car with an “Internet ID”, the car can recognise the driver through connected smartphones or smartwatches. It also enables personalised internet services such as greetings, preferred music and destinations.

“YunOS will make cars an even more indispensable part of human life in the future society. Today marks the dawn of that new era. We feel proud and privileged to be playing a part in driving that change,” said Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group.

The car is currently available for sale for Yuan 99,800-Yuan 186,800 (Rs 10,07,240-Rs 18,85,295).

OS'Car RX5 uses an open platform for different smart hardware and services which will enable the introduction of additional premium and creative driving experiences for users.

Among major tech companies, Alibaba is relatively late to offer a platform that can link a smart phone to a car, trailing platforms already launched by Alphabet's Google, Apple and Baidu. But the race to commercialize driverless cars is far from over with experts predicting that a fully autonomous car will not hit the market until 2020 or later.

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Topics : #Alibaba | #technology

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