General Motors introduced the connected car in 1996 with Cadillac OnStar. At first, a cellular call was used to summon emergency help after an accident and later the GPS location was sent as well. Over time additional capabilities have been added including remote diagnostics, turn-by-turn directions, traffic information, cell phone connections, Wi-Fi hotspots, driver assistance features, collision detection, streaming music services, internet access, automatic parking and soon self-driving cars. The ability to link your connected car to a payment, a mobile wallet or a retailer’s mobile app and your connected car’s ability to let your app, or the merchant know your location is all that is required. (Okay, there may be some software development required, but I will leave that to the smart people to figure out.)
At fuel pumps connected cars could eliminate the need for consumers to inset their card or tap their phone for payment. Simply pull up to the pump, pump your fuel and drive off. Magical! The car identifies what station and pump you are at and passes your preferred payment information for pre-auth to have the pump activated, finalize the transaction and you drive off.
Drive-thru payments at fast food restaurants could become easier with the connected car. As you approach the order station, the connected car, connected to the restaurants mobile app, could let the restaurant know who you are, your preferred payment method and even your usual order! As you place your order, it could be displayed on the in-dash digital display for order confirmation. No more clerks reading your order back through garbled speakers!
As you approach the dry cleaner to pick-up your cleaning, or your favorite restaurant to pick-up your order to go, your connected car could let them know how soon before you arrive so they could get it ready for you and then know when you arrive, and in what parking spot, so they could deliver it to your car. Payments will be automatically linked to your preferred payment method.
Some companies have already announced some interesting connected car experiences. Dunkin’ Donuts has parted with Waze, the community-based traffic and navigation app, which lets you order your coffee and doughnuts ahead of time to pick-up when you get to the restaurant. This works by connecting the Dunkin’ app to Waze.
Starbucks has announced the ability to voice order your favorite coffee beverage with a planned integration between the Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay technology and Ford’s SYNC3, powered by Alexa’s voice-activated technology. Ford is adding its Alexa-powered SYNC 3 connectivity platform to all of its 2017 vehicles. Amazon has also announced that Alexa will be supported in Toyota, Volkswagen and Hyundai cars as well. Pizza Hut also allows Alexa voice ordering, which can be used in these vehicles.
Pizza Hut is hoping to tap into Amazon’s suite of mobile applications and Alexa devices with a new promotion that gives a discount to consumers who place an order through an Alexa device.
Maybe Tesla should be adding tray tables to its self-driving cars. Just think – order dinner from your favorite restaurant before you leave the office, have it delivered to your car as soon as you pull into the parking lot and eat dinner while you watch your favorite streaming video show on your way home during your evening commute. Exciting times we live in.