IOTA, Jaguar and the future of mobility

While most of blockchain and DLT use cases we hear seem to be related to money and finance, this technology is being developed to tackle several industries. One of the most interesting ones involves smart machines.

In this respect, Jaguar announced it would partner with the IOTA foundation to allow drivers to earn cryptocurrency and make payments on the move using innovative connected car services.

Using a technology called ‘Smart Wallet’, owners earn credits by enabling their cars to automatically report useful road condition data such as traffic congestion or potholes to navigation providers or local authorities. Drivers could then redeem these for rewards such as coffee, or conveniently use them to automatically pay tolls, parking fees and for smart charging electric vehicles. ‘Smart Wallet’ removes the need for drivers to hunt for loose change or sign up to multiple accounts to pay for a variety of everyday services.

‘Smart Wallet’ uses the latest cryptocurrency technology and Jaguar Land Rover has partnered with the IOTA Foundation to harness ‘distributed ledger’ technologies to make and receive these payments.

The choice of IOTA was based on two main unique characteristics of the network. First, unlike other similar systems, IOTA operates on a zero transaction fees structure. Second, the network throughput capacity scales with the network itself. The more users IOTA has the faster it becomes. This is a critical point given that some forecasts are predicting to have 75 billion connected devices by 2025.

Both Jaguar and IOTA foundation commented on the event:

The connected car technologies we are developing will be transformative and truly turn your Jaguar or Land Rover into a third space, in addition to your home or office. In the future an autonomous car could drive itself to a charging station, recharge and pay, while its owner could choose to participate in the sharing economy - earning rewards from sharing useful data such as warning other cars of traffic jams.

Russell Vickers
Jaguar Land Rover Software Architect

"Our distributed ledger technology is perfectly suited to enable machine-to-machine payments for smart charging, parking and tolls, in addition to creating opportunities for drivers to earn their own digital currency. We are excited to partner with Jaguar Land Rover in implementing its IOTA-powered car wallet, delivering a major convenience benefit for their customers worldwide."

Holger Köther
Director of Partnerships, IOTA Foundation

The leading technology research forms part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero strategy which aims to achieve zero emissions, zero accidents, and zero congestion. Part of reaching this target is developing a shared economy where the vehicle plays an integral role as a data gatherer in the smart city of the future.

These goals while very ambitious are more actionable than what one may think. For example, when it comes to reducing traffic congestions, a 2011 paper authored by Rutger Claes, Tom Holvoet and Danny Weyns provided some unique insights. They theorised a “decentralized multiagent system (MAS) for anticipatory vehicle routing in large-scale dynamic environments”. Their design didn’t mention blockchain or DLTs as they were still in their very early days, but 8 years later it is clear that these technologies could address several problems and enhance the initial design.

In their approach (inspired by coordination techniques in ant colonies) traditional vehicles (antlike agents) explore the traffic environment as they commute and drop relevant information in an ICT infrastructure intelligent agents scrutinize the environment and forecast congestions. The traffic would be an open environment where Vehicles continually enter and leave the system and act as oracles for the DLT of choice. The other entities introduced by the authors are infrastructure agents. They are computation and communication devices deployed in core elements of the road infrastructure (such as roads and crossroads) in charge of monitoring and managing said core elements. Effective use of smart contracts would enable beneficial interactions between Vehicles and Infrastructure Agents, as well as Vehicle to Vehicle interactions.