Alibaba Group debuts internet-connected car

Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, has teamed up with automotive manufacturer, SAIC Motor Corp, to launch the first mass-produced internet car.

The OS’Car RX5 runs on Alibaba’s new YunOS operating system, designed specifically for the automotive industry and is the result of a two year project between the companies.

Unlike traditional vehicles, the car is supported by a cloud-based platform that enables data streaming, modelling, and reporting, Alibaba said on Thursday.

The YunOS operating system includes an intelligence map which provides precise location tracking without a WiFi or GPS connection. It’s the first car with an ‘internet ID,’ enabling it to recognise the driver through connected smart phones or smart watches, Alibaba said.

It also ships with four detachable cameras to provide video recordings of a journey and ‘360-degree' in car selfies, a large touch screen, LED dashboard, and intelligence rear view mirror.

Touchscreen running Alibaba's YunOS

“What we are creating is not the ‘internet in the car’ but a ‘car on the internet,’” said Wang Jian, chairman of Alibaba Group’s technology steering committee.

“This is a significant milestone in the automobile industry. Smart operating systems become the second engine of cars, while data is the new fuel.

“Going forward, cars will become an important platform for internet services and smart hardware innovation. We will be embracing a world where everything is closely connected,” he said.

Alibaba’s executive chairman, Jack Ma, added that humans have made machines more intelligent in the past few decades and in the coming years, the company is hoping to “inject machines with human wisdom.”

“Just as software programs have made the phone smarter today, YunOS will make cars an even more indispensable part of human life in the future society. Today marks the dawn of that new era,” he said.

The car will be presented at the Alibaba Automotive Festival between July 20 and 31. It costs between RMB 99,800 (A$19,847) and RMB 186,800 (A$37,148).

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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