Alibaba Unveils Cloud Computer, Delivery Robots
Alibaba Cloud, the digital technologies and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, today unveiled a series of innovative products at its 12th annual Apsara Conference, highlighting the technology pioneer’s commitment in helping people adapt to the more digitized world and accelerate customers’ digital transformation during and after the pandemic.
A highlight is Alibaba Cloud’s first cloud computer, a palm-sized personal computer which, despite being just about 60 grams and as light as an egg, offers high-performance computing, thanks to robust back-end cloud resources. By simply connecting the cloud computer with a normal computer screen, a user can access almost unlimited computing resources anytime, anywhere, while paying on a subscription model or for the actual cloud consumption.
“We hope our cloud computer can help people access resilient computing power whenever they need to, so they can conduct complex tasks which usually require sophisticated and powerful PCs, such as video editing, animation rendering, software development, and online customer services, with a tiny personal computer at hand now,” said Jeff Zhang, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “As working from home becomes the new normal during and after the pandemic, we believe our innovation can also help users more easily enjoy the benefits of cloud computing anytime, anywhere, in a cost-effective yet secure way.”
Alibaba Cloud also unveiled its autonomous logistics robot for last-mile deliveries. Developed by the Alibaba DAMO Academy, the global research initiative by Alibaba Group, the delivery robot can carry 50 packages at one time and cover 62 miles (or 100 kilometres) on a single charge. It is estimated the mobile robot should be able to deliver as many as 500 packages a day to one designated community or campus, meeting the rising demand for speedy last-mile delivery in China. Online shopping is booming there, with 200 million packages delivered daily and expectations that will rise to 1 billion packages per day in the coming years.
Supported with reinforced learning technologies, the intelligent robot can schedule its route even in a crowded environment. With proprietary, high-definition positioning technology, the robot can operate even where there’s weak or no GPS signal. Leveraging a self-developed heterogeneous computing platform, 3D Point Cloud Semantic Segmentation (PCSS) technology and deep learning, the robot can also identify obstacles and predict the intended movement of passengers and vehicles a few seconds ahead of time to enhance safety.