Kez Casey | Jul 8, 2016

You may already have a smart phone, a smart TV, and maybe even a smart watch, but the next connected device in your life could be a smart car.

No, not the compact city car from Daimler, instead Chinese automaker SAIC has launched a connected car under its Roewe brand, in collaboration with e-commerce firm Alibaba.

The Roewe RX5 SUV is described by Alibaba chairman Dr. Wang Jian as “a car on the internet,” rather than simply providing internet services to the car, what what does that mean?

Alibaba’s suite of services extend to things like personal greetings and restoring individual settings as a driver approaches the vehicle. More than that though, parking, petrol, and even restaurants can be located using the car’s connected services and using paid for using Alibaba’s Alipay service.

The idea is to create a simpler, more streamlined experience for automobile users, with the car gathering data on how it is used and the things its drivers do in a regular basis; then making suggestions based on prior learning.

Information is displayed inside the car via three LED screens, and a system of reconfigurable cameras can be used for everything from recording trips to taking selfies.

“Going forward, cars will become an important platform for internet services and smart hardware innovation. We will be embracing a world where everything is closely connected,” Dr Wang said.

The RX5 utilises Alibaba’s Yun OS, the same operating system that powers the company's range of connected home appliances and smartphones, derived from a version of Android’s Open Source Project platform.

Priced from just under A$30,000, the Roewe RX5 spent two years in development, and pulls its mechanical componentry from the MG GS, with 1.5 and 2.0 litre turbocharged engines that have been co-developed by SAIC and General Motors.

Without an official presence in Australia, the Roewe RX5 is unlikely to be offered here any time in the near future.

But with automakers everywhere developing new car connectivity technologies, expect similar features to make their way into mainstream cars sooner rather than later. Consider it just another unnecessary addition to the fast-growing 'internet of shit'.

MORE: SAIC | Roewe | China

Follow Kez Casey on Google+