More than cars: Alibaba says it has bigger ambitions than just robotic taxis. In June 2016, the company launched an AI-powered “city brain” system in Hangzhou, where it’s headquartered, to crunch data from mapping apps and increase traffic efficiency. Simon Hu, the president of Alibaba Cloud, says the firm’s ultimate goal is to produce the kind of autonomous driving that uses such data to help integrate transportation into urban infrastructure.
Why it matters: China is scrambling to compete with America in developing driverless cars as quickly as possible. This news is another sign that it really means business.