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Tier One supplier ZF is spinning off eWallet, a vehicle-connected automated-payment service whose technology allows vehicles to make payment transactions, such as this one for electric recharging without human intervention. (ZF)

ZF spins off autonomous-payment company

Taking aim at automated valet parking and other autonomous-vehicle operations that involve payment transactions, Car eWallet GmbH has been spun out as a startup. The move was made after Germany-based Tier 1 automotive supplier ZF and partners IBM and UBS completed a six-month trial.
The three partners developed the secure system that allows the vehicle itself to make payments for tolls, parking and refueling/recharging without human intervention. The concept, unveiled early this year, is designed for a future of autonomous operation, such when a vehicle parks itself or travels through toll-collection mechanisms.
ZF, which will provide funding for an unspecified period, said that outsourcing development and marketing activities will help the startup respond to market forces more quickly. The initial pilot projects of Car eWallet should launch before year’s end.
“We can use the agility of the start-up scene where many innovative approaches can be developed more freely and quickly than within a corporate structure,” said Alexander Graf, a ZF developer who’s now the Car eWallet project leader.
The eWallet service will be one of the auto industry’s first users of blockchain technology, which ensures that all data transactions are maintained without alteration in an environment of high security and anonymity. Both IBM and UBS have done extensive blockchain development in other fields. Continue reading »