IOTA received a huge boost yesterday, both in terms of reputation and price, when it was announced that Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) have signed an agreement with the blockchain project to launch a pilot scheme involving in-car MIOTA payments as reward for gathering and sharing journey data. IOTA jumped 20% following the announcement that the new breed of JLR’s connected cars will feature ‘Smart Wallets’ which will allow the car to report and share road conditions, such as traffic jams and potholes, for which the wallet will receive MIOTA tokens. These tokens will then be used to pay for other connected services such as toll booths, parking services, and electric charging facilities, or, apparently, even for a coffee.
The software to run the pilot is being developed by JLR’s software engineering hub in Shannon, Ireland, where it has already been fitted to the Jaguar F-PACE and Range Rover Velar vehicles. IOTA state that the tie-in is part of JLR’s ‘Destination Zero’ strategy which aims to achieve “zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion”. The vehicle is at the center of this initiative, acting as a data gathering device that promotes a reduction in congestion through smart navigation through busy areas, reducing idling and therefore in turn reducing vehicle idling and emissions. Holger Köther, IOTA’s director of partnerships, said of the pilot:
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. We are excited to partner with Jaguar Land Rover in implementing its IOTA-powered car wallet, delivering a major convenience benefit for their customers worldwide.
Dream vs Expectations
The reality might end up being vastly less than the dream however, according to a source within the JLR setup who told BitStarz news:
This is purely a trial and nowhere near being a commercially available product. DOVU (another automotive cryptocurrency) received seed funding through JLR’s investment arm Inmotion Ventures in April 2017 for a similar purpose and have shown no signs of using it. The reality of the situation is that in the current financial climate, with JLR having posted a loss of £273m in the last quarter (£3.1bn including drawdowns), they will not be rushing to spend money on making this project commercially viable for the foreseeable future.
The source also questioned the timing of the announcement, stating that JLR may have been “fishing for press” after a stream of negative news in recent months, including well-publicized drops in sales and a recent announcement of upcoming redundancies. IOTA fans may not want to think that they have been used in such a way, but while the pilot remains just that, they will have to temper their enthusiasm.