Last year, SAIC, China’s leading automobile company entered into a partnership with Alibaba to develop internet enabled smart cars. Earlier today, both the companies jointly set up an Internet Car Fund of $1 billion to further speed up its research and development. This is an open capital fund which means other companies too are encouraged to invest and participate in the development of Internet cars.
The companies are said to be focusing on the needs of the user while developing such a car. SAIC Chief Engineer Cheng said that Internet will become an important aspect of a user’s car and travel plans. Wang Jian, Alibaba’s CTO also said that internet enabled cars will not only help people communicate effectively with their vehicles but also enable other cars to communicate with each other. This will further help in the development of unmanned vehicles in the future.
The partnership also aims to develop a new automobile ecosystem with relevant applications.
Last year’s press release gave us some idea about the plans of the company.
“Targeting end-user experience, the two companies will integrate Alibaba’s Yun operating system, big data, Ali communication, Autonavi navigation technology, Aliyun cloud computing and Xiami music with SAIC Motor’s resources in car and parts R&D and auto service trade, open and merge Internet and big data services. They will also provide users with smart travel solutions through combining and optimizing the two companies’ online and offline resources.”
The first internet car as a result of this partnership is expected to hit the markets by 2016.