Alibaba Group to develop its own chips starting next year
Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma said China needs to control core technologies such as chip development
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has announced plans to set up a new semiconductor company to focus on the development of artificial intelligence chips and embedded processors to support the company’s cloud and IoT businesses, Chinese press reports.
Alibaba’s CTO Zhang Jianfeng said that the group plans to integrate its recently acquired chip designer C-SKY Microsystems and the chip R&D team of Alibaba DAMO Academy into a new firm called Pingtogue Semiconductor, according to the reports.
The executive said that the new semiconductor firm will unveil its first neural network chip, dubbed Ali-NPU, in April of next year. The new chip will be used in image and video analysis and machine learning. The chip could be also used for autonomous cars, smart cities and logistics.
Also in 2019, Alibaba expects to release its embedded CK902 series chipsets to support network security functions.
Alibaba Group’s head, Jack Ma, reportedly said that China needs to control core technology like chips in order to avoid relying on U.S. imports
Alibaba’s DAMO Academy currently has more than 300 researchers serving in eight cities across China.
In related news, Alibaba also announced a series of smart mobility initiatives in partnership with auto makers and technology service providers.
Alibaba Cloud, the cloud-computing arm of Alibaba Group, and German firm Bosch, a global supplier of technology services, announced plans to introduce Automated Valet Parking (AVP) solutions in China. Under the terms of the agreement, both firms will work together to enable the driverless parking solution.
As part of the cooperation, Bosch will provide its AVP technology, its experience in systems engineering and its IoT competencies. Alibaba Cloud, meanwhile, will share its technologies and its experience in cloud computing, data analysis and smart mobility. The two companies also committed to explore future opportunities in connected mobility in China and abroad.
Also, Alibaba A.I. Labs, the department focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) product development at Alibaba, announced it is upgrading its auto AI solution, Tmall Genie Auto, by partnering with Volvo Cars and adding car-to-home AI services. Through the upgraded solution, Volvo Cars drivers with a Tmall Genie-compatible device will be able to monitor and control their smart-home devices from their cars, starting next year. This new offering will allow users to run a status check on humidity, temperature, light and air conditioning at home, as well as the on and off status of smart home appliances. Users will also be able to control appliance functions, including turning on the heater, air conditioning, door lock and air purifier;
Alibaba said that over 90 appliance brands are already in the Tmall Genie ecosystem, enabling over 600 smart home appliances to be connected for car-to-home AI services.
Last June, Alibaba A.I. Labs partnered with Daimler, Audi and Volvo Cars to offer home-to-car AI services through Tmall Genie Auto. The labs also rolled out in-car AI services by integrating the speech-interaction and Natural Language Processing features of AliGenie. This technology supports voice commands for different tasks, such as identifying nearby attractions and restaurants, booking hotels and movie tickets and ordering to-go boxes by activating the cars’ navigation and infotainment systems, Alibaba said.