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Alibaba launches its first “Internet car” in China

The car is a Roewe RX5 compact SUV, and its “Internet car” terminology refers to the fact that it’s an IoT device that is connected to everything—your smartphone, your home, your workplace. Alibaba didn’t make the RX5 itself, the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) did that. Alibaba’s contribution is the RX5’s operating system called YunOS for Car, reports Forbes. Variants of the YunOS already control everything from games consoles to refrigerators in China. As you would expect, the YunOS controls things like the RX5’s infotainment system, navigation, radio, and smartphone integration, says Forbes, but Alibaba has also built in some unique features:

By using Alibaba’s e-commerce network drivers are able to book and pay for parking spaces, gas stations, and shops. Each user of the vehicle gets a unique “Internet ID” that enables the operating system to recommend music or nearby restaurants based on data gathered during earlier trips. The system syncs with the agenda of your smartphone and the navigation system is able to find and drive to the people you are supposed to meet.

Oh yeah, the RX5 also has a cabin-facing camera for taking selfies, no joke.

[Photo: Alibaba, SAIC]MG