The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that a record-breaking 43.2 million Americans will be traveling by car this Fourth of July weekend, as stated by the PYMNTS
. With the rising popularity of connected and autonomous vehicles, it is highly likely that a significant number of these journeys will be made in connected cars.
In addition to transforming the driving experience, the in-car payment infrastructure is expanding beyond driving alone. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA recently introduced
an in-car payment feature that enables drivers to identify and reserve parking spaces at off-street facilities through the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) multimedia infotainment system. This service, powered by Mercedes pay and available on all Mercedes-Benz vehicles in the United States, will prove beneficial as parking restrictions are enforced nationwide during the holiday season.
Mercedes pay CEO Nico Kersten discussed the launch of Mercedes pay+, an in-car payment service allowing customers to pay for digital services and upgrades using a fingerprint sensor within the vehicle. Kersten envisions a future where payments are seamlessly integrated into the customer’s journey, with the driver’s identity linked to the car throughout various transactions and interactions with digital services.
Kersten emphasized the importance of authentication, which is achieved through a fingerprint sensor integrated into the car. Visa’s Delegated Authentication and Visa Cloud Token Framework technology securely collect and store the relevant data.
Mercedes-Benz is not the only automaker capitalizing on the growing trend of connected cars. With the maturation of 5G mobile technology, the automotive industry is embracing digital payment infrastructure to cater to the increasing number of connected vehicles on the road. Car IQ secured $15 million in funding to enable vehicle-linked purchases without a payment card, while J.P. Morgan acquired a 75% stake in Volkswagen Payments. General Motors has also announced plans to double its revenues by capitalizing on growing in-car connected services subscriptions, and BMW partnered with Parkopedia for in-vehicle parking payments.
In a recent pilot program, Mercedes partnered with Microsoft to further enhance their in-car artificial intelligence (AI)
capabilities. The integration of the ChatGPT generative AI function with Mercedes’ MBUX Voice Assistant has been undergoing beta testing in over 900,000 vehicles. This collaboration allows drivers to benefit from improved natural language understanding and a broader range of topics for interaction.
This collaboration with Microsoft follows an earlier partnership announcement between Mercedes and Google. Through this collaboration, drivers can access information on millions of businesses using Google’s Place Details function, including hours, ratings, and reviews.
As connected cars continue to gain traction, the convenience and efficiency offered by in-car payment systems are becoming indispensable for drivers. The automotive industry’s integration of advanced technologies and partnerships with tech giants is transforming the driving experience and paving the way for a future of seamless connectivity and enhanced services.