ZF's mobility payment platform hits German market in Q3
LAS VEGAS -- ZF Friedrichshafen said it will introduce Car eWallet, its in-car payment system, in Germany in the third quarter.
Car eWallet is a collaboration with IBM and UBS, a financial services firm, that allows automatic payments for services such as electric vehicle charging, tolls and parking. Late last year, representatives for both companies indicated they planned to test the technology in the first quarter and possibly offer it to customers later in the year through a partnership with a parking provider.
The supplier demonstrated the technology for media in advance of CES 2018, the technology trade show here.
Initial service partners are European parking management company APCOA and Chargepoint, an EV charging station company.
Car eWallet is based on an IBM-developed blockchain platform, a type of distributed data structure that ensures greater security. An associated app developed by ZF software engineers allows drivers to load payment types and set permissions for automatic payments.
IBM developed the underlying blockchain technology, software that records transactions semianonymously, automatically and sequentially, entering them in a single digital ledger.
These ledgers are then copied and distributed across multiple locations, making it difficult to tamper with the data. Blockchain began with anonymous digital currencies such as bitcoin, allowing international trading to occur without the involvement of banks or governments. It also is used for global shipping, company rewards programs and identity tracking.
Initially, the payment system will come preloaded on ZF's ProAI computing system for self-driving cars, as a way to differentiate the product.
"ProAI shows we can give not only autonomous driving, but the whole autonomous experience," said Alexander Graf, lead engineer on Car eWallet.
He acknowledged there are still issues to work out, including allowing the system to work without a data connection.