If you haven’t noticed by now, our Business Development Manager, Jon, loves cars. And superbikes. So it’s little surprise he was all over this news from Alibaba this week.
Alibaba Invests in Wayray Augmented Reality Dashboard
This week I really wanted to focus on AR, and have come across something that is not just cool but that I want in my car… now! However, I may be waiting for a while yet. Anyway, it’s not just cool, this tech also has the potential to improve safety standards.
After launching its first car in 2016, Alibaba is digging deeper into the car industry. The Chinese internet giant is the lead investor in smart automobile tech developer, WayRay.
WayRay makes holographic navigation dashboards and they look like something out of a fighter jet.
As we look to the future and, in particular, the future of technology in our cars, I think it’s fair to say we have come a long way in a short space of time.
Augmented-fact based dashboards that overlay guidelines and other knowledge onto a driver’s view of the street sound good, right? Who wouldn’t want one? The company plans to launch a consumer model of Navion in 2017.
In a statement, Alibaba’s senior investment director, Ethan Xie, stated:
“We believe there is huge potential in the development of leading-edge technology like augmented reality and its application to various industries, like WayRay’s AR navigation system in the auto sector. The potential of augmented reality makes it an exciting and promising area.”
I couldn’t agree more. I think we are only now beginning to touch on the multitude of sectors that augmented reality can affect.
Alibaba made its debut in the automotive business last summer, with the RX5, a smart automobile it developed with SAIC, opened for pre-orders. The RX5 uses Alibaba’s Yun working gadget and the company hopes to make the car part of an internet-of-things ecosystem with the intention to include its other smart hardware and web services and products like Alipay.
However, Alibaba’s smart cars are already up against competitors from other large Chinese tech corporations like LeEco, which bills its electric automobile LeSee as “the first mobility ecosystem on wheels” and Baidu, which is growing good automotive know-how and self-reliant automobiles with BAIC, another of China’s giant 4 state-owned automakers.
I honestly had no idea about LeSee which, by the way, looks awesome. I can only imagine what the roads of the future will look like 50 years from now.
WayRay also stated that it’s going to partner up with Banma Technologies —a three-way partnership between Alibaba team and SAIC—to create an augmented-fact navigation and leisure system for a car to be able to launch with Banma in 2018. WayRay claims that this is “the world’s first vehicle in production with a holographic AR head-up display.”
All sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? But will you miss the traditional dashboard? The rev counter and the old school gauges? I will… but the idea of some super cool Knight Rider car on steroids might take the edge off.