#Asia Alibaba’s first smart car includes a new version of YunOS


The RX5 uses its own e-commerce ecosystem, among other things


Alibaba Group, in collaboration with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), has recently unveiled its first internet car, RX5, for the Chinese market, which aims to expand the Internet-of-Things (IoT) to the automotive sector.

Developed over the last two years, Alibaba and SAIC have invested US$160 million in the sports vehicle. It includes the new version of Alibaba’s YunOS, which enables the car to connect to and tap into various internet services. Dr. Wang Jian, chairman of Alibaba’s Technology Steering Committee, mentioned that connected smart operating systems like YunOS will improve the consumer experience beyond just driving.

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These are the key features of the smart car:

1. The RX5 is equipped with its own e-commerce ecosystem to deliver the services: Drivers can book and pay for parking spaces, gas stations and coffee shops through Alipay.

2. Each driver will have an ‘internet ID’: The ID allows the OS to recognise different users, do personalised greetings, make recommendations for music, air temperature or nearby restaurants based on settings that can be configured from a smartphone or wearable.

3. Navigation and voice control feature: The companies claim that there is support for voice controls while a mapping system works without GPS or WiFi.

4. Three LED screens for interfacing with the OS and 360-degree detachable cameras: Drivers can record videos and take photos (including selfies) easily.

5. A smart rear view mirror

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Alibaba has also said that they want to open YunOS to third parties. According to Zhang Chunhui, president of YunOS, the OS would be open to other companies to deliver their own services through the internet car’s operating system, instead of being a closed system.

“Our vision is to enable Internet-connected cars to become the largest open platform capable of incorporating all kind of services, both from YunOS or third-party developers,” he said.

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Priced from RMB 148,800 (US$22,300) upwards, the first mass-produced sports utility vehicle is available for pre-order on Tmall, with deliveries scheduled in August.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce company operating online marketplaces for both international and domestic China trade. It also operates an online payment system called AliPay. With 407 million active users and 393 million monthly active mobile users, the company has recently acquired Wandoujia, a China-based Android app store, for US$200 million.

Image Credit: TechCrunch

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