As we are accustomed to the routine of paying for parking and fuel as we normally would, Honda, together with Visa, Gilbarco and IPS Group, has been working to make that experience a lot more easier. Not that the current way of doing things is any more difficult, but if it could more streamlined (read: more convenient), then why not? Developed by Honda Developer Studio (HDS), this fuel and parking proof-of-concept allows you, the driver, to pay for both parking and gas via a touchscreen monitor right inside the vehicle. Interestingly but also not surprisingly, smartphone integration is also on the menu, but more on that later.
How this proof-of-concept in-vehicle payment works is, drivers will be notified when the option to pay for fuel or parking in-vehicle is available, like, for example, when they are near a smart parking meter or fuel pump. The payment amount is displayed on the display, after which the drivers confirm the payment right there and then, and voila! Transaction completed. In the case of smart parking, the driver has the liberty to select the time increment needed and pay according. There’s no need to mess with the parking meter at all. Once payment is made inside the car, drivers can simply step out, secure their cars and walk away. However, if more time is needed, drivers can choose to add additional time to the meter accordingly, or if they are not anywhere near the car, they can purchase more time via their mobile devices, thus saving themselves from getting a parking ticket.
In-vehicle payment works pretty much the same for fuel top ups too. When parked next to a smart fuel pump, the driver will be informed of the availability of in-vehicle payment. The driver then selects the amount of gas to fill up, make the payment – all while still inside the vehicle – before stepping out to top up the vehicle’s gas tank. When done, the driver hops back into the car and ride away. Just like that. It couldn’t be much simpler, or at least it is until robots start doing the fill up on your behalf so you may never have to leave the car at all, but that’s still very far into the future which by then, transportation should be mostly electric powered and/or completely autonomous.
But for now, I am guessing petrol convenience stores will not be too enthuse about it though. If drivers don’t need to step into the station’s store to pay for gas, the potential for sales of the merchandises in the store will naturally be much lesser.
Images courtesy of Honda North America.