If you want somebody's help, it doesn't hurt to pay them. In an effort to create an ecosystem that can better prevent congestion and collisions, Jaguar Land Rover is willing to pay owners a little bit of cryptocurrency to grease the wheels.
Jaguar Land Rover on Monday unveiled its Smart Wallet connected-car technology. While it's still only in testing, the premise is pretty straightforward: Give JLR some important road information, and the automaker will repay you by depositing cryptocurrency into your car's built-in "wallet," which you can then use for a variety of purposes.
Don't worry -- you're not giving JLR access to your social security number. It's not that kind of information the automaker is after. Rather, it wants you to report on road conditions, including traffic, potholes and bad weather. The idea is that, the more cars there are delivering this kind of information, the better JLR's system can be at choosing routes that avoid all that nastiness. It's part of the OEM's desire to reach zero accidents and congestion -- an admittedly high bar, but multiple manufacturers have expressed desire to see within our lifetimes.
In exchange for that data, Jaguar Land Rover will give contributors a small chunk of crypto -- Iota, specifically, which operates with a unique type of distributed ledger that's different from the typical blockchain you might be familiar with. Those coins will live in the Smart Wallet until they're used to pay tolls, juice up an EV or cover parking fees. The Smart Wallet can also be filled up using more conventional methods, too, although JLR didn't dive too deep into the details.
There's plenty of time to hash out the specifics, because the system is just in the test phase for now. JLR is currently running cars with its Smart Wallet system at its software engineering center in Ireland. While it's not a shoo-in for production, it's a smart way to incentivize opting into vehicle-to-x communication, which does have the potential to save us all from daily commute frustrations.
Originally published April 29, 7:37 a.m. PT.
Update, 1:41 p.m.: Updated story to specify which cryptocurrency will be rewarded.