LONDON — AliOS, the operating system for IoT solutions developed by China’s Alibaba Group, has entered into a partnership with NXP to install the AliOS system and NXP’s automotive infotainment solution in "millions of vehicles" in China by 2020.  

The collaboration will help build a smart cockpit enhanced by multi-screen display, artificial-intelligence-driven interaction and secure over-the-air (OTA) updates, according to the companies.

Alibaba is said to be aiming to connect 10 billion devices by 2023 on its IoT network, and it appears to be creating the ecosystem to develop this, with partnerships announced in recent months with STMicroelectronics, MediaTek and others.

The partnership with NXP, which combines AliOS and NXP i.MX applications processors, will also explore the optimization of software and hardware design for next-generation auto e-cockpits, future car broadcasting systems and beyond.

"Over the past three years, AliOS has been a pioneer in driving the digital transformation of cars and helping auto brands to enhance the overall user experience,” said Simon Hu, senior vice president of Alibaba Group and president of AliOS.  He added that they will strive to make cars more intelligent to better connect with the digitized road infrastructure in cities, by creating a robust platform to spur innovation and reduce the costs associated with the mass production of smart vehicles.

“We look forward to redefining the future of the automobile sector in collaboration with our ecosystem partners such as NXP,” Hu said.

“Alibaba and NXP share the new vision that in-vehicle experiences and consumer services will be an essential differentiator for carmakers moving forward,” said Kurt Sievers, executive vice president and general manager of NXP automotive. “Alibaba has great momentum in the development, innovation and application of automotive operating systems. We believe the partnership will bring rich opportunities to the auto industry.”

Validation of STMicroelectronics IoT sensors

Earlier this month, STMicroelectronics announced the validation of its LSM6DSL 6-axis inertial sensor and LPS22HB pressure sensor for Alibaba's IoT ecosystem, enabling users to create complete IoT nodes and gateway solutions.  Alibaba recently announced the release of AliOS Things v1.2, which includes a sensor-based component called uData. The ST sensors that have passed the AliOS validation have been integrated in uData and the two companies are cooperating on the development of IoT systems that aim to improve end-user experiences.

The LSM6DSL is a system-in-package featuring a 3D digital accelerometer and a 3D digital gyroscope that operates at 0.65 mA in high-performance mode and enables always-on low-power features for an optimal motion experience for the consumer; it also features high robustness to mechanical shock. It supports main OS requirements, offering real, virtual and batch sensors with 4Kbyte for dynamic data batching.

The LPS22HB is an ultra-compact piezo-resistive absolute pressure sensor that functions as a digital output barometer. Dust-free and water-resistant by design, the sensor enables high accuracy and low-power operation. It is available in full-mold package with silicon cap and six 20µm holes guaranteeing sensor moisture resistance, relative accuracy of pressure measurement 0.1 mbar, and very low power consumption (e.g. 12µA in Low-Noise mode).

“The validation by Alibaba of ST’s LSM6DSL and LPS22HB sensors is an important achievement. Creating and connecting nodes quickly and securely is facilitated by the holistic platform of AliOS, which cuts time to market for users and allows them to create IoT systems in China quickly for applications in smartphones, smart watches, smart locks, smart parking and beyond. On top of this, Alibaba is collaborating closely with ST to integrate more products in the platform, offering compelling IoT solutions for customers,” said Collins Wu, marketing director, for ST's analog and MEMS Group in Greater China and South Asia.

MediaTek IoT initiative in smart homes

At CES earlier this year, Alibaba A.I. Labs announced a strategic collaboration with MediaTek in IoT initiatives including smart home protocols, customized IoT chips and AI smart hardware. The two parties also announced the first Smartmesh connectivity solution in China that supports the latest many-to-many Bluetooth mesh technology, in an effort to speed up the adoption of this technology in smart home settings.

The partnership comes on the heels of the successful collaboration on Tmall Genie, the lab’s first voice-controlled smart assistant, for which MediaTek provided chip technology support. Alibaba A.I. Labs launched the smart home assistant in July last year, with an aim to provide brand new interaction experiences for Chinese consumers. More than 1 million Tmall Genie devices were sold in China during Alibaba’s Global Shopping Festival on November 11 last year.

— Nitin Dahad is a European correspondent for EE Times.