i3 - November/December 2017 - 29

Besides the technology, though,
Mercedes also has the financial license to
meet regulatory requirements and operate
a payment platform itself (rather than process payments through a third party), Wolff
says. "The more complex the use cases get,
the more important this issue becomes."
A simple use case example is paying for
gasoline, while a more complex one is paying for parking at multiple garages around
town throughout a day and in parallel paying for coffee, all via the same mobile wallet account, he says. There still is no
timeline for Mercedes Pay to be commercialized, but it will launch in Europe first,
Wolff projects.

Courtesy Dominos (2)

BUSINESS MODELS IN FLUX

"By and large it's still early days" for e-payments in cars, says Dominique Bonte,
managing director and vice president at
ABI Research in Brussels, Belgium. "We
have all the technology in place" for seamless e-payment transactions, as exemplified by the Amazon Go retail operation,
which employs cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence to detect a purchase and
activate a payment, he notes. A similar
scheme could be used with a vehicle with
"proximity services." For example, a
Starbucks coffee shop ahead could detect
a user's car approaching, alert the barista
to make the driver's favorite brew, complete the payment transaction and have
the beverage ready for pick up when the
car arrives, Bonte says. "It's more a business model, financial discussion than anything else," he adds.
But paying discrete amounts for single
transactions is only one possibility. A "lot
more interesting" option involves
"micropayments, or payments that will
happen at the matter scale," Bonte explains.
These would include continuous payments
that could be applied for wireless charging
of electric vehicles while they're stopped at
traffic lights along a route. "For these massive number of micropayments, the current
technology is not suitable," Bonte says.
Instead, he suggests "blockchain" technology could be key. In simple terms, it
involves a distributed database that keeps
an encrypted trail of information that is
inherently tamperproof and can be used
in real time - thus enabling a micropayment to be completed while an electric car
is charging at a stoplight rather than after
it has been driven away.
C TA . t e c h / i 3

DRIVER-LESS
PIZZA DELIVERY
Automakers are experimenting with new ways to enable
consumers to pay for goods
and services. Ford recently
teamed up with Domino's
Pizza in a research project that
gauges consumer reactions
to pizzas delivered via a
self-driving car with a built-in
food warmer. Customers in
Ann Arbor, MI, were asked to
retrieve their pies from a Ford
Fusion Hybrid Autonomous
Research Vehicle equipped
with a custom Domino's
Heatwave Compartment,
which they could unlock with
a unique code. The feedback
gathered will help guide
how self-driving cars may
be employed in future
business models, both Ford
and Dominos say.
"We're interested to learn
what people think about this
type of delivery. The majority
of our questions are about the
last 50 feet of the delivery

experience. For instance, how
will customers react to coming
outside to get their food?
We need to make sure the
interface is clean and simple.
We need to understand a
customer's experience if the
car is parked in the driveway
versus next to the curb," stated
Russell Weiner, president of
Domino's, in a release.
"Achieving our self-driving
future will take much more than
just developing the technology," said Sherif Marakby, Ford
vice president for autonomous
and electric vehicles, in a
company post. "We must put
the customer experience at the
forefront of our thinking so
self-driving vehicles improve
the lives of people, the
operations of our partner
companies, and the mobility
within our communities."
Ford plans to begin
production of self-driving
vehicles in 2021.

Meanwhile, Volvo has
acquired Luxe, a San
Francisco-based firm that
sends a personal valet
to a customer's location,
on request, to park, refuel
or clean his or her vehicle.
Luxe operates in San
Francisco, New York and
Chicago, and is based on
an advanced software and
technology platform, which
Volvo wanted to help build
its own suite of digital
products and services.
"Our vision is a future in
which technology simplifies
life so you never have to
stop at a petrol station, go
to a car wash or even take
your car in for service ever
again," said Atif Rafiq, global
chief information officer and
chief digital officer at Volvo
Cars in Mountain View, CA,
in a release. Volvo buying Luxe
"is a step toward realizing that
ambition," Rafiq said.

"I don't know how this country escapes a vehicle miles traveled tax to pay for the
infrastructure improvements and maintenance that we have to do, and this is especially important in the context of electric vehicles and the fact that they don't have to
stop at gas stations," says Roger Lanctot, director of automotive connected mobility
in the global automotive practice at Strategy Analytics in Newton, MA. So, e-payment
technology in a car could help realize this, he says.
Consumer sentiment, too, is likely to push automakers into new directions with
e-payments, particularly in the partnership realm. "It all comes down to taking the
friction out of these awkward experiences, whether it's paying a toll, paying for your
gas or paying for your parking," Lanctot proclaims. "The really significant opportunity
is getting people accustomed to the concept."
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

29


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i3 - November/December 2017

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