We hear a lot about the impact that emerging technologies are going to have. Blockchain, distributed ledgers, data collection, the internet of things (IoT) – just you wait, it’s gonna change the world. Often, though, it can be difficult to wrap our heads around the concept. Yesterday, we got a little bit of insight into what that future might actually look like, though, as Jaguar Land Rover made an announcement.
According to a press release from the car maker owned by India's Tata Motors, Jaguar Land Rover is partnering with the IOTA Foundation, a distributed ledger non-profit, to allow drivers to earn cryptocurrency and make payments on the move.
Here’s how it would work: “Using 'Smart Wallet' technology, owners earn credits by enabling their cars to automatically report useful road condition data such as traffic congestion or potholes to navigation providers or local authorities.” Then, having earned credits for sharing this data, drivers could “redeem these [credits] for rewards such as coffee, or conveniently use them to automatically pay tolls, parking fees and for smart charging electric vehicles.”
This is all a part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero strategy, “which aims to achieve zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.” Jaguar says that this partnership moves them towards this goal by developing the vehicle’s role “as a data gatherer in the smart city of the future.”
For example, the data-gathering and sharing from each vehicle will “promote a reduction in congestion with the sharing of live traffic updates and offering alternative routes to drivers, reducing tailpipe emissions from idling traffic.”
The technology is currently being trialled at the company's software engineering base in Shannon, Republic of Ireland.
For IOTA, a non-profit aimed at leveraging distributed ledger technology to mobilize the Internet of Things (IoT), the partnership appears to be a boon. According to fintech entreprenuer and futurist Lex Sokolin, IOTA’s cryptocurrency had been “troubled...in part due to its technical team's disconnect from the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities, and in part due to its very ambitious narrative.”
So, “seeing that IOTA has been able to forge a partnership and an interesting proof of concept with one of the leading automotive brands is quite encouraging.”
While he noted that the development is “several steps away from robots paying each other tolls and creating machine economies,” he did say that it is “a meaningful step towards making our vehicles smarter and more able to interact autonomously.”
When this feature is coming, though, remains unknown.