(Yicai Global) May 18 -- Beijing transport authorities have installed the country's first intelligent traffic cones to monitor and release updates on roadblocks via a digital application developed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s map unit.
The 18 sets of cones will ensure real-time distribution of information on road construction work and accidents, Beijing News reported, citing an official from Beijing Municipal Commission of Transportation. Such information was delayed in the past because it was submitted manually, the official added.
China's leading digital map and navigation service provider, Beijing-based Autonavi Holdings Ltd., also known as Amap, will publish the data via its mobile app. The smart traffic cones are equipped with buttons which construction workers can press to immediately update the system's database.
The smart traffic cones are mostly being tested on Beijing's urban roads and will be deployed on highways in the future. The cones are a positive sign for roadwork safety and public travel efficiency, according to the project leader at Amap.
Alibaba acquired AutoNavi for CNY10.2 billion (USD1.6 billion) in 2014 to compete with rival internet giants Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Baidu Inc. in the sector. Amap also launched ride-sharing platforms in Chengdu, Sichuan province, and Wuhan, Hubei province, in March.
Editors: Emmi Laine, William Clegg