IFA 2023: Software-defined vehicles may soon auto-pay for fuel and more


As most of us know by now, computers in cars are here to stay. We’ve had computers inside our cars for a long time, they’ve just been getting more powerful and smarter. But now a whole new level of vehicle has been taking to the streets, software-defined vehicles.

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Software-defined vehicles are basically vehicles whose entire functionality is software and computer dependent. As an old school car guy, that scares me. But the future is here and like it or not, software-defined vehicles are only going to become more commonplace.

At lot has been done with software-defined vehicles over the past few years, from internal GPS and navigation capabilities, to Bluetooth and cellular connectivity. Now, a company by the name of CarIQ says its beta program for its auto-pay software is expanding, and some drivers may soon be using their vehicles to pay for fuel and roadside assistance.

The company has gone from hundreds of test vehicles making payments using one fuel brand, and is now expanding and working with BlackBerry for a farther reach.

“Fuel is the bread and butter of the whole thing,” explains Pratz. “When I started the company, the concept was that cars are driving around looking for things to pay for, and it’s a big market. Inside that market, we realized fuels are 50% of it, but transactions are around the car for tolling, parking, insurance, service, and repair. We see those as the ‘Big Five.’ EV (electric vehicle) charging is part of the fuel category.” Car IQ has begun to chase relationships in all five of these areas, but fuel is the most fully established payment category to date.

“Today, we’ve got 25,000 gas stations on the platform, and now integrating over the road (OTR) we’ll soon have about 50,000,” Pratz states. “We just started (with) tolling.” To facilitate this, Car IQ has signed a deal with Verra Mobility™, which provides integrated technology to manage things like tolls for vehicle fleets and government customers. “Verra saw our technology at the show last year and said they’d really like cars connected to their tolling agencies. That gives us about 95% of the U.S., and then we’re moving after insurance next. Those are two of the bigger ticket items.”

This rapid expansion is taking Car IQ into its next phase. “This year is focused on scaling. We’ve now signed some of the biggest fleets in the United States, who are converting over to our platform. We have two automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) that are also adding us to their platform. We’re very focused on integration with these key customers and scaling.”

You can read more about CarIQ, BlackBerry, and software-defined vehicles on BlackBerry’s Blog Post or watch the video above.

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