alibaba to use robots in gas stations
A gas station attendant pumps fuel into a customer's car at PetroChina's petrol station in Beijing, China, 21 March 2016 (Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo/Reuters)

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group will venture into smart petrol stations wherein robots are the attendants. The plan is to construct the first few gas stations in the company's home city of Hangzhou.

Gas stations in China will soon become manned by computer-controlled human machines as Alibaba will build the world's first 'intelligent' petrol stations. Part of the move is the QR code scanning that customers will use when entering and shopping at convenience stores.

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Construction of the said petrol stations will begin by the end of October while the launching is expected to commence in 2018. According to Chinese publication Caixin, the gas stations will use smart technologies to automatically document details of drivers and their cars, such as name, vehicle model and the fuel used.

As a cloud business, Alibaba has a vast treasure trove of consumer data which it can leverage to push its new ventures. The e-commerce company has long been investing in new businesses outside of its industry.

This is not the first time Alibaba entered into unmanned physical establishments. It opened a pop-up convenience store in Hangzhou a couple of months back where attendants are robots.