BMW and Alibaba have jointly announced that Alibaba A.I Labs’ intelligent voice assistant will be available in-car to BMW customers in China by the end of 2019. Earlier this year, it was reported that Alibaba A.I. Labs had secured deals with Audi, Daimler and Volvo to supply them with its intelligent voice assistant, but BMW is the first premium automaker to utilise Tmall Genie in selected vehicle models.

The system will be fully and seamlessly integrated in BMW vehicles for that market, and will extend the scope of the BMW Connected service, which was launched in China in December 2016 and is currently used by 1.5 million customers.

The integration allows BMW customers who have a Tmall Genie-compatible device at home to operate vehicle functions easily and conveniently, and to call up appointments saved in the BMW Connected mobility agenda.

Connectivity is accomplished via the car’s embedded SIM card, which enables seamless integration and permanent online availability, so a smartphone isn’t required to utilise the intelligent voice assistant in the car.

Through Tmall Genie, customers will be able to place online orders, view cinema listings and listen to their favourite playlist and look up the weather at a destination, among others, with the BMW display screen displaying information v in text and images as well as through audio output