If you’re a frequent internet shopper, you’ve probably heard of Alibaba. From power banks to clothing, the e-commerce company sells a wide range of products, and will now enter the automobile industry with its first “internet car” – it has installed its internet-connected OS in the new Roewe RX5.

According to the company, the Roewe RX5 comes after more than a year of development and testing with Roewe’s parent company SAIC Motor. The company says that the SUV is part of its push to “change cars from mere methods of transport to connected devices in their own right.”

The main highlight of the SUV is in the cabin, where the RX5 uses Alibaba’s OS’Car technology, utilising the YunOS operating system that is also used in other smart home appliances, including refrigerators, air conditioners and robotic vacuum cleaners. Alibaba says that the operating system would not be a closed system but rather would be open to other companies to deliver their own services through the RX5’s operating system.

Alibaba is aiming to connect all vehicles to the internet of things (IoT) ecosystem, where they can share data to create better experiences for users. The RX5 will allow drivers to use the company’s e-commerce ecosystem to deliver various services. For example, drivers can book and pay for parking spaces, gas stations and coffee shops using Alipay.

Additionally, the RX5 will save a unique “internet ID” for each driver that enters the vehicle, allowing the system to provide recommendations (music, air temperature or restaurants) based on previous trips. Other features include voice control and navigation features, three LED screens for interfacing with the OS and 360-degree detachable cameras for recording trips and selfies.

“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. Smart operating systems become the second engine of cars, while data is the new fuel,” said Dr. Wang Jian, chairman of Alibaba’s Technology Steering Committee.

“Our vision is to enable Internet-connected cars to become the largest open platform capable of incorporating all kind of services, both from YunOS or third-party developers. In the future, we hope Internet-connected cars to be a solid foundation for the development of smarter transportation and smarter cities,” he added.

The “internet car” comes fitted with either a 1.5 litre or 2.0 litre turbocharged petrol engine. The RX5 will be available for pre-order in China through Tmall (Taobao Mall), with prices starting from RMB 148,800 (RM89,900). The company also claims the RX5 is the world’s first mass-produced smart vehicle. So, how do you fancy an Alibaba “internet car?”