News | 28 Feb 2022

How cars are automatically paying for their own fuel

Automatic payments and the Economy of Things are charging ahead with Vodafone IoT technology.

Electric cars can automatically pay for their own recharging using the latest evolution of Vodafone’s Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

With Vodafone’s Digital Asset Broker, motorists no longer have to use multiple apps for each charging point network that they use. A single app on their smartphone or tablet, which integrates with their existing mobile wallet, automatically communicates with any charging point that accepts Mastercard payments.

The app, which has an encrypted and authenticated digital identity tied to the SIM card and can be built into vehicles themselves, can automatically determine the compatibility, location, pricing and charging time of a charging point. Once authorised by the driver, it can pay for electricity used.

The Internet of Things: Everything you need to know

The Internet of Things may sound like buzzword bingo, but this low-key yet wide-ranging technology is already changing our lives in many ways.

Compatible charging points are now live in Newbury, Berkshire. To bring this trial of an ‘Economy of Things’ to life, where devices communicate with each other to pay for services, Vodafone worked with Mastercard and Energy Web, a non-profit organisation dedicated to decarbonising energy grids.

Other potential uses for the Digital Asset Broker technology include cars automatically finding and paying for parking spaces, rental cars automatically billing for pay-as-you-go use and home energy smart meters automatically settling bills by direct debit.

Johan Wibergh, Vodafone Chief Technology Officer, said: “We are building in-house new, scaled platforms for our customers across Europe and Africa. This, our latest platform, will drive the new Economy of Things where everyday objects and devices can negotiate, buy and sell services on our behalf. We are actively talking with many other companies to rapidly expand partnerships and widen the ecosystem worldwide to include other features and payment schemes.”

Lockdown didn’t thwart car thieves, but Vodafone did

From bargain bangers to pricey Bentleys, Vodafone Automotive tracked and helped recover hundreds of stolen motors across the world in 2020. One continental crime involving a Mercedes (like the one pictured) stretched from Milan to Stockholm.

Vodafone announced the Digital Asset Broker trial at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2022 in Barcelona. Vodafone also announced a raft of other initiatives at MWC, in partnership with ReCommerce, to encourage customers to make more sustainable smartphone purchases.

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