Drivers could earn cryptocurrency credit by enabling their vehicles to report road condition data, in a trial being run by manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).
Information like the location of traffic congestion or potholes would be sent to navigation providers or local authorities in return for crypto 'rewards' which could be used to "automatically pay tolls, parking fees and for smart charging electric vehicles" or just roadside coffee the company said.
JLR engineers have fitted a number of vehicles with what it calls 'smart wallet functionality' for the trial taking place in Ireland. Drivers could also top-up the smart wallet using conventional payment methods.
"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,” said JLR software architect Russell Vickers.
The car-maker has partnered with the IOTA Foundation a German distributed-ledger technology developer, to stand up the smart wallet.
“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," said Holger Köther, IOTA's director of partnerships.
The concept is similar to one being pursued by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and automotive manufacturing firm Continental, revealed earlier this year. Their blockchain-based 'data monetisation platform' – which is expected to go live later this year – is being pitched at car manufacturers as a way for them to trade data with each other.
In that model cash-back and free services could be offered to encourage motorists to share their vehicle data.
Offering cryptocurrency rewards to drivers promises to be an effective strategy for data thristy vehicle manufacturers, said founder of Temporal blockchain based cryptocurrency Temtum, Richard Dennis.
“Rewarding drivers is a great incentive for corporations who crave big data to encourage their own customers to allow them to collect it, with only the most scalable of blockchain solutions making these features possible in the near future," Dennis said.
"Seeing major manufacturers pick up on scalable blockchain technology is an exciting development for the industry," he added.
The smart wallet trial is the latest in a string of emerging technology experiments from JLR, which is pursuing its 'Destination Zero' strategy which aims to achieve zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.
“Jaguar Land Rover is embracing autonomous, connected, electrified and shared mobility technology as we endeavour to make cars safer, cleaner and smarter for everybody,” added Nick Rogers, the company's executive director of product engineering.