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Alibaba teams with Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo to drive smart mobility in China

Audi, Daimler and Volvo have signed deals with Alibaba to adopt the internet giant’s AI voice assistant into their automotive vehicles.

Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo partner with Alibaba for smart mobility

The deal marks the first global auto brands to adopt Alibaba A.I. Labs’ ‘AI + Car’ solution, which enables customers to connect with their cars via the Tmall Genie smart assistant.

As part of the deal, customers of Mercedes-Benz Connect, Audi Connect and Volvo Cars will be able to use a Tmall Genie-compatible device to monitor their cars and control vehicle functions from home.

The technology will allow users to monitor vehicle location, fuel levels, air conditioning cycles and ensure doors and windows are locked. Users can also run status checks on vehicle parts and battery as well as calculate routes and timings for journeys.

The partnership follows Alibaba’s announcement last week that the company had begun testing autonomous cars as part of its expanding A.I division. The company is playing catch-up with rivals Baidu and Tencent, both of which have been investing longer in the autonomous vehicle technology.

Alibaba launched A.I. Labs last year in a bid to “explore the next generation of human-computer interaction through AI-powered applications and products” and Alibaba has sold more than two million Tmall Genie devices in China.

The Lab is already working on integrating speech interaction and Natural Language Processing (NLP) into vehicles operating systems in a bid to support voice commands for vehicle navigation and information as well as in-car entertainment systems. The technology would employ voice print technology to ensure security controls were in place.

Lijuan Chen, head of Alibaba A.I. Labs, said the company believed the partnership would help to “drive the revolution of smart mobility in China”.

“Cars are an environment, alongside home and the office, where individuals spend a significant amount of time and through connectivity can become an important part of life. Identifying how to serve car users with Tmall Genie’s skillsets is one of our top priorities.

“We hope the collaboration can create a more intelligent and personalized mobility experience for consumers and enhance users’ commute by exploring more AI-powered services through our Auto AI solution,” said Chen.

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