Published: July 7, 2016 | Beijing, China
Chinese automaker SAIC Motor and e-commerce giant Alibaba Group have recently launched their first internet-connected car with YunOS operating system and an aim to make vehicles smarter for future. The Shanghai based automaker unveiled the web-enabled car, a Roewe RX5 sports utility vehicle under SAIC’s subsidiary brand, is priced from 148,800 yuan (HK$172,600).
In March last year, the two companies agreed to build a platform and invested 1 billion yuan to develop an internet-connected car, marking Alibaba’s first foray into the new battleground of the auto sector.
Alibaba Chairman Jack Ma, said:
Today, 80 per cent of your smartphone’s functions are not relevant to making phone calls or conversation. I believe that in the future, a car will have 80 per cent of its functions not related to just transportation. Smart cars connected to the internet will be the future of the auto sector, while autonomous driving will also be the trend.
Along with other modern-day features, the Roewe RX5 can be connected with other smart devices to enable drivers to remotely unlock the car or control in-car air-conditioning with a smartphone. Apart from that, the YunOS operating system enable drivers to use voice commands to open and close windows, control navigation systems, as well as make mobile payments and restaurant bookings. (via Reuters)
With a motive to target the mass market, Alibaba has strategically played with the pricing and functions of this connected car and that’s the reason pre-sales of the car has begun at Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Tmall. However, among these upgrades, 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.