Alibaba Unveils First Smart Car, CarOS RX5, Includes Ecommerce and Selfie Function

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Jack Ma presenting Alibaba's new smart car to the world. Source: Tech In Asia

Jack Ma presenting Alibaba’s new smart car to the world. Source: Tech In Asia

Alibaba has unveiled its first smart car, a collaborative project between Alibaba and Chinese auto manufacturer, SAIC, reports Tech In Asia. The smart car, CarOS Roewe RX5, was introduced by founder Jack Ma to the Chinese Press in Hongzhou on July 6. Dr. Wang Jian, Chairman of Alibaba’s Technology Steering Committee comments,

We are creating a ‘car on the internet’. Smart operating systems become the second engine of cars, while data is the new fuel. 

The car will leverage Alibaba’s various ecommerce functions in order to help drivers search for every day things such as parking spaces and gas stations.

Drivers will be able to make e-payments through Alipay, Alibaba’s electronic payment system. The car will assign a unique ID for each driver and be able to make recommendations on things such as music and restaurants.

Drivers will also be able to take selfies with a detachable 360-degree camera that comes with the car.

 

The cost of an RX5 will start at $22,300 and is available for preorder on Tmall; more than 100 people have already signed up.

The cost of an RX5 will start at $22,300 and is available for preorder on Tmall; more than 100 people have already signed up.

Alibaba is aiming to place itself in the center of car-based data services, as well as enable other companies and third party services to bring new innovations to its new platform. Using a smart car as a new platform for the company’s services moves past mobile restrictions and internet based services and introduces drivers to Alipay. They will be able to use internet and navigation services without getting out of the vehicle.

According to Your Story, the launch of RX5 has placed Alibaba ahead of companies such as Google, which has not yet released a commercial car product despite making headway in the sector.

No words on how the car performs in terms of driving experience as the RX5 is expected to be delivered to owners in August.

A version of this article appeared in Tech In Asia on July 7. Read the full article here.