The overall goal of connected car technology is to automate as much of the driving experience as possible. The automotive industry’s transition towards autonomous vehicles is signaling the move to in-dashboard payments for a variety of purchases. What will this mean in practical terms for the average car owner?
But first, how does it work?
Most drivers use cards or mobile phones to pay for various products while on the road. But with the development of new technologies, the car itself can serve as an independent payment tool without the need for active user authentication or external devices.
Today most cars feature in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems. Connected to an Operating System, software enables radio, navigation, telephony and multimedia capabilities. The software used to enable payments via mobile phones, in combination with Bluetooth and NFC, is easily compatible with the vehicle’s built-in technologies.
Use cases for automated car payments
- Fuel payments
Automated payment for gasoline is one of the most popular features among consumers. The IVI system can signal the driver when gas is running low. The fuel pump is connected to the vehicle’s IVI system, enabling the driver to execute commands and payments through the dashboard.
- Toll payments
From a 15 meter range, connected cars equipped with RFID can electronically read license plates and windshield labels while automatically providing user authentication. When the driver approaches a toll booth, the payment process is performed securely, preventing the need to stop and pay.
- Food and drive-through orders
Connected cars equipped with IVI systems also enable automated payments for coffee, donuts, drive-thru restaurants, food pickup and other facilities without the need to pull up a mobile app or present a credit card.
- Connected parking payments
IoT-powered parking lots can notify connected cars about space availability and fees using over-the-air technology. There is no need to pull out any kind of payment device. Parking becomes completely cash- and ticket-free. This kind of technology enables drivers to save valuable time searching for parking spots, while traffic congestion is alleviated due to faster parking.
New generation in-vehicle payments
Several automakers including Jaguar, Honda, General Motors and Hyundai already feature built-in connected payment capabilities for gasoline, food, parking and other items. Their systems integrate with a variety of methods, wallets and merchants to offer as many payment options as possible.
The day when we will be able to make payments seamlessly through our cars’ dashboards is rapidly approaching, opening new horizons for auto manufacturers, payment solutions and intrepid retailers.