Published: Fri, December 15, 2017
IT | By Lester Massey

Alibaba To Launch Electric Vehicle Vending Machines

Alibaba To Launch Electric Vehicle Vending Machines

The company has made a deal with Ford in China to manufacture electric vehicles to facilitate sales.

The way the company imagines it, is when a customer sees a vehicle they like rolling down the street, they can scan it using a dedicated smartphone app.

While we in the United Kingdom are beginning to wrap our heads around online auto purchasing, Chinese retail and tech giant Alibaba has stepped the game up in its home country. The app is also developed by Alibaba. Once the system recognizes the vehicle it lets them pick a color and, once they enter basic information and snap a selfie, arrange for a test-drive if the vehicle is available. The Chinese retail giant just announced that it formed a partnership with Ford to build a big vending machine for selling electric cars.

For recognition of the individual, Facial recognition technology is used. The customers who are allowed to take the vehicles out for a drive are those who qualified as an Alibaba Super Member. From that point, a bespoke smartphone app allows said customers to select vehicles from the vending machine either for a three-day test drive, or to purchase outright.

Customers are limited to five test periods every two months to ensure that the system isn't used as a free vehicle hire service.

Alibaba intends to roll the scheme out across China, should the initial pilot prove successful - though it may be a while before we see giant cats dispensing cars at the side of United Kingdom roads.

That's right - Chinese consumers in Nanjing and Shanghai will be able to buy a new vehicle nearly instantly, just by operating a few switches.

Alibaba intends to open two of this vending machines in January with more planned to launch across China by next year.

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