Never “hunt for loose change” again, says Jaguar! The car company is implementing a novel technology (blockchain!) to ensure that your driving life is as convenient as possible, in exchange for the oh-so-small sacrifice of sharing your car’s personal data.
At its software engineering headquarters in Shannon, Ireland, Jaguar Land Rover is testing out cars with smart wallets. Through a partnership with the IOTA Foundation, which has built an open source blockchain for the Internet of Things, drivers of these cars will be able to earn IOTA coin rewards every time their vehicles report things like potholes or heavy traffic. Then, next time those drivers pass a toll booth with their crypto-heavy wallets, the car will automatically pay their tolls—kind of like an E-ZPass, only a lot more technically complicated. Drivers can get other rewards for their cars sharing data, too, such as coffee (participating coffee vendors have not been named).
The big takeaway? There are a couple. One is: Move over Lambos, Jaguars are the car of the crypto revolution now. The other is: #adoption.
People seem genuinely excited that Jaguar’s IOTA integration indicates a mainstream blockchain and crypto use case. Just look to Reddit or Twitter. “New York Times!” one Reddit user writes about the fact that the Times reported Jaguar’s news. “Not an obscure online crypto news site few people have heard of. This should get a lot of interest from outside the existing cryptosphere…I like it a lot!”
As a writer at an obscure online crypto news site, I can say that their excitement isn’t misplaced. Compared to the many use cases of blockchain-for-show, where the technnology isn’t necessary to, say, tracking lettuce and comes off more as a marketing gimmick, the Jaguar integration kind of makes sense. A digital wallet that can both make automatic payments and is connected to a wealth of driving-related data illustrates a harmonious use case of blockchain. It neatly ties together the promise of blockchain and the promise of crypto—data organization and storage to secure payments.
This is a big step for the blockchain Internet of Things. It combines a brand name people actually know with a convenience people will really want to use (because they already do autopay for tolls, using E-ZPass). There are even token awards available for Jaguar drivers who participate in a ride-sharing program. Even though we’re talking gas-guzzling vehicles using energy-sucking technology, the IOTA-Jaguar partnership is also kind of green.
Information collected on the IOTA blockchain about driving conditions will go to “navigation providers or local authorities,” according to Jaguar’s announcement. This is, perhaps, the biggest fly in the ointment. “Navigation providers” sounds deliberately vague, and “local authorities” sounds like anything from the Department of Transportation to police. This could represent the top of a slippery slope, wherein sharing helpful information like bumps in the road could eventually turn into having your own car report on your bad driving, or maybe it will judge that you’re intoxicated if you slightly swerve and call the cops. If the technology can send reports about traffic congestion, then it’s presumably tracking your car’s location (and therefore yours). In the future, our own cars may be able to report both where we are and what we’re doing to local authorities. (You don’t even have to use your imagination, here. There are multiple movies about evil cars.)
Either we’re headed for an autonomous car-ruled dystopia, or this is just great news for IOTA—the blockchain poised to link up with more and more of our internet-connected devices. People online are now talking about buying IOTA tokens, the price of which has increased since Jaguar broke its news. One IOTA is currently worth about $0.30.