British automotive brand Jaguar Land Rover has announced what it is touting as the “world’s first” in-car payment system that lets drivers fuel their vehicles and pay through the car’s touchscreen.
An update arriving to Jaguar’s 2018 F-PACE, XE, and XF models, as well as the latest Land Rovers, ushers in a number of new smarts, but perhaps most notable is a new Shell app that makes it even easier to pay. Initially available in the U.K. only, with a global launch expected to follow later, the Shell app enables drivers to pay using PayPal or Apple Pay, with Android Pay coming later this year.
Though Shell already offers a “Fill Up & Go” payment app that lets drivers authorize payments through their smartphones, the new app for Jaguar vehicles has fewer steps and uses geolocation smarts to automatically detect your whereabouts and then lets you tap once to pay through a pre-registered payment method.
The screen then displays an e-receipt to confirm payment has been completed.
There are a number of advantages to paying this way, beyond the obvious convenience. Any parents out there know that feeling of leaving their kids alone in the car while they disappear inside the gas station to pay. And those already set up with a mobile payment mechanism will now be able to pay with even less friction than before.
A subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors since it was acquired from Ford in 2008, Jaguar Land Rover has been investing heavily to bring itself into the connected 21st century world. Last year, the company launched a new standalone venture to trial car-sharing and other connected services. And last month it made a strategic $15 million investment in Silicon Valley connected car startup CloudCar.
Other companies pushing the boundaries of frictionless payments include Amazon, which recently announced a new brick-and-mortar grocery store that bypasses checkouts by enabling automated payments using computer vision and other machine learning techniques.
“In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards,” said Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s director of connected car and future technology. “Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refuelling quicker and easier. With this new system you can choose any pump on the forecourt and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.”
Jaguar also says that it plans to enable touchscreen payments at other venues, including drive-through restaurants (presumably McDonald’s), toll roads / bridges, and parking facilities.
“Our technology allows users to put their phone away out of sight and use it via the touchscreen in the car, because as the car becomes more connected to the Internet of Things, we will always be guided by what is appropriate and safe to do while driving,” added Virk. “So in-car payments would only be enabled when it is safe to do so, preventing unnecessary driver distractions.”