Technology is getting smarter and so are the gadgets that we use in our everyday life. The smart things that our gadgets have started to for us make us expect more from every new gadget or tech device in town-even cars. We expect our cars to fly, determine less busy roads by themselves, turn on the AC automatically when it is hot, and even open the door when we reach the parking gate. Though some of these capabilities already exists and some of them are a work in process, Alibaba has launched an internet car, which offers a bit more than what one could imagine. Beyond supporting voice and navigation commands, it will also help driver pays bills without taking out their credit/decit cards, and can even converse with smart devices.
We are referring to OS’Car RX5 sport utility vehicle here that was unveiled by Alibaba only yesterday. The car is a result of more than a year of development and testing, and has been built in partnership with SAIC Motor Corp., China’s largest automaker.
It runs on Alibaba’s YunOS, and has some interesting features up its sleeve. For instance, the RX5 drivers will be able to book and pay for parking spaces, gas stations and coffee shops through Alipay. Based on the driver’s past trips, the car OS will also make recommendations for music, air temperature or nearby restaurants based on past trips. And things won’t stop here. Drivers will also get a drone placed on the top or the car, which can be controlled via the car’s built-in system. Then there are also three LED screens for interfacing with the OS and 360-degree detachable cameras for recording trips-and selfies.
Dr. Wang Jian, chairman of Alibaba’s Technology Steering Committee says that they want to enhance users’ driving experience through its smart car. He said, “The difference between an internet car and a traditional car is that connected smart operating systems like YunOS will improve the consumer experience beyond just driving.”
If after seeing the video, you immediately would wish to buy one, then hold your horses. The car is currently available in China only, and the pre-booking of this first mass-produced smart vehicle have already begun on Tmall. The price of the basic RX5 variant is RMB 148,800 ($22,300).
But don’t loose hope. Alibaba wants to make YunOS available to other automobile manufacturers too. So, just hope that one of them brings their car to India. Tata Motors, Hyundai, Volkswagen are you listening?
(Richa Sharma is associated with TMI as a contributory author)