Alibaba has teamed up with BMW to develop a range of “digitalised experiences for the car and home” for all new BMW models sold in China from the first half of 2018.

With the collaboration, Alibaba will help the automaker integrate smart speakers with BMW’s cloud-based infotainment platform and the sound-recognition and processing technology developed by Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing unit of Alibaba Group.

As a result, BMW car owners in China will be able to remotely access information about their cars via smart speakers, such as how far they can still drive with what’s left in the gas tank and whether doors and windows have been left open or closed.

Sean Ding, chief scientist for the IoT division at Alibaba Cloud said, “We have strived to use IoT and machine intelligence technology to create a future where everything is connected. With our new collaboration with BMW, we want to provide users with new experiences where people, their vehicles and t heir homes are seamlessly connected.”

Connected car systems raise issues of cybersecurity, but it’s  a challenge the auto industry has now embraced, according to the two men who remotely hacked a Jeep, exposing the potential vulnerabilities of such systems.

“If we look at the demo that we did with the Jeep, I think that opened a lot of eyes that this is a problem that companies need to face. Everyone I’ve talked to in the industry sees it as a serious problem that they’re trying to address to the best of their abilities,” one of the men, Dr Charlie Miller, told Which-50 earlier this year.

The BMW announcement is the latest in a series of initiatives from Alibaba in the auto space. Earlier this month, Alibaba and Ford Motor Company announced exploring areas of cooperation in operation system, cloud computing, digital marketing and online retail respectively, with the aim to re-shape the automotive industry in China and around the world.

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