Alibaba Cloud presents first cloud computer and autonomous logistics robot – eCommerce magazine

Alibaba Cloud, the technology backbone of the Alibaba Group, presented at the Apsara conference on September 17th one Range of innovative products presented. A highlight is the first “cloud computer” from Alibaba Cloud: This is a palm-sized personal computer that weighs only 60 grams and offers high computing power thanks to robust back-end cloud resources. By simply connecting the cloud computer to a normal computer screen, a user can access almost unlimited computing resources from anywhere. Use is paid for via a subscription model or according to the actual cloud resource consumption.

Alibaba Cloud: Cloud computer with the power of a PC

“Our newly developed Cloud computer helps people access powerful computing power at all times, so they can do complex tasks that normally require demanding and powerful PCs – such as video editing, animation rendering, software development, and online customer services – with a tiny personal computer, ”said Jeff Zhang, President of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “As working from home becomes the new normal, we believe that our innovation will help users take advantage of cloud computing anytime, anywhere in a cost-effective yet secure manner.”

Alibaba Cloud
The new cloud computer from Alibaba Cloud is as powerful as a PC. (Image: Alibaba Cloud)

Cloud Computer: System upgrades are done online

With robust computing power, the cloud computer can, for example, reduce the rendering time of a high-resolution single image animation from 90 minutes with a conventional PC to just ten minutes. In addition, system upgrades of the cloud computer are performed online, which saves a large part of the normally high costs of upgrading and maintaining PCs in traditional office environments.

Alibaba Cloud’s proprietary app streaming protocol also allows users to purchase and access licensed applications and programs such as Linux and Windows, as well as various office applications. All user data is stored in the cloud for security and protection measures at the data center level. The cloud computers are initially available for corporate customers, but will also be available for end users in the near future.

Alibaba Cloud: New logistics robot for the last mile

Alibaba Cloud is also presenting its autonomous logistics robot for deliveries over the last mile for the first time. The delivery robot developed by the Alibaba DAMO Academy, the global research initiative of the Alibaba Group, can transport up to 50 parcels and travel around 100 kilometers on one battery charge. The mobile robot is thus able to deliver up to 500 parcels per day to a certain area and thus meet the increasing demand for fast delivery on the last mile in China. Online trading is booming there, with 200 million parcels being delivered every day, and experts predict that this number will rise to one billion parcels per day in the coming years.

“We anticipate a rapid increase in delivery demand from the thriving new retail and local service companies in an increasingly digitalized world,” explains Zhang. “In order to meet the strong demand for deliveries for our internal business growth and for society, we have been investing in intelligent logistics solutions such as logistics robots for years. We’re excited to launch our latest mobile delivery robot to help Cainiao, Alibaba’s logistics platform, serve communities, campuses, and commercial areas in China even faster. In the future, we want to use our technologies for other types of service robots, such as service robots at airports or robots as tourist guides at excursion destinations. ”

Alibaba Cloud
The autonomous logistics robot takes over deliveries over the last mile. (Image: Alibaba Cloud)

Logistics robot with high-resolution positioning technology

Supported by intelligent learning technologies, the robot can safely coordinate its routes even in a crowded and confusing environment. With the proprietary, high-resolution positioning technology, the robot can also work where the GPS signal is weak or nonexistent. Thanks to a heterogeneous computer platform developed in-house, 3D Point Cloud Semantic Segmentation (PCSS) technology and deep learning, the robot can also recognize obstacles and predict the intended movement of passengers and vehicles a few seconds in advance. This increases security.

To operate, consumers can simply use the Cainiao or Taobao mobile apps to select a preferred time period during the day for delivery. The robot then delivers to the desired destination, where customers can receive their parcels by simply entering a passcode that they receive in the app as soon as the robot arrives.

Further cloud-native solutions were presented at the conference:

  • Cloud Lakehouse: Next-generation big data architecture delivers data-based intelligence powered by cross-platform computing, intelligent caching, separation of hot and cold data, storage optimization, and performance acceleration.
  • Sandbox container 2.0: The cloud-based container service for Kubernetes supports clusters with sandbox container runtime environments. The service enables customers to run applications in sandboxed environments at higher speeds and lower costs for runtime resources.
  • PAI-DSW 2.0: The interactive development platform, which is based on machine learning, primarily supports the global developer community. The cloud-based platform is easy to use, compatible with plugins and supports development environments such as JupyterLab, WebIDE and Terminal.
  • Lindorm: The cloud-native multi-model database extends the range of services and supports the Alibaba Group’s ecosystem. Lindorm is a cloud-native database with inexpensive storage and flexible processing properties. It is designed for applications with massive processing needs for a mixture of unstructured, semi-structured and structured data. (sg)

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