Alibaba unveils cloud computer, delivery robot

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Photo shows the research center of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba on the "AIsland" of Zhangjiang Science City in Pudong New Area, east China's Shanghai, July 3, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technologies and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, unveiled a series of innovative products at the 2020 Apsara Conference on Thursday, including its first cloud computer and a logistics robot for last-mile deliveries.

The cloud device is a palm-sized personal computer (PC). Despite being just about 60 grams and as light as an egg, it offers high-performance computing, thanks to robust back-end cloud resources.

By connecting the cloud computer with a normal computer screen, a user can access computing resources anytime, anywhere, while paying on a subscription model or using it for actual cloud consumption. The high-tech device can reduce the rendering time for single frame high-resolution animation from 90 minutes on a traditional PC, down to only 10 minutes, the company said.

"We hope our cloud computer can help people access resilient computing power whenever they need to, so they can conduct complex tasks, such as video editing, animation rendering, software development and online customer services, using a tiny personal computer at hand instead of usual sophisticated PCs," said Jeff Zhang, president of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.

The conference also saw the Chinese tech giant unveil 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 a time and cover 100 km on a single charge.

It is estimated that the mobile robot would 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.

"We are expecting a rapid spike of delivery demands brought by the thriving new retail and local services businesses in the increasingly digitalized world," added Zhang. "We are glad to launch our latest mobile delivery robot, which will be supported by Cainiao, Alibaba's logistics platform, to serve communities, campuses and business parks in China," he said.

The Apsara Conference, formerly known as Ali cloud developers' conference, is the earliest platform showcasing innovations in China. Themed "Leap into the future of digital intelligence," the focus of the 2020 Apsara Conference will shift from science and technology to cover a wider range of industry, technology, and consumer electronics.

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