The Atmospheric Remote-Sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, ARIEL, has been selected to be the next M4 space mission in the ESA Cosmic Vision programme. From launch in 2028, and during the following 4 years of operation, ARIEL will perform precise spectroscopy of the atmospheres of about 1000 known transiting exoplanets using its metre-class telescope, a three-band photometer and three spectrometers that will cover the 0.5 µm to 7.8 µm region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The payload is designed to perform primary and secondary transit spectroscopy, and to measure spectrally resolved phase curves with a stability of < 100 ppm (goal 10 ppm). Observing from an L2 orbit, ARIEL will provide the first statistically significant spectroscopic survey of hot and warm planets. These are an ideal laboratory in which to study the chemistry, the formation and the evolution processes of exoplanets, to constrain the thermodynamics, composition and structure of their atmospheres, and to investigate the properties of the clouds.