Future of motoring: the paying car key and clever steering wheel

car key

As long as you’ve got your car key, contactless payments will be possible (Picture © DS Automobiles)

They’re parts of everyday motoring that we’ve taken for granted for years. But very soon we could look at our car key and steering wheel in a completely different light. French car company DS Automobiles has come up with a key that doubles as a payment card. And Jaguar Land Rover is working on a steering wheel that could revolutionise the way we own cars.

How do you pay with a car key?

This is no ordinary car key. During September 2017, buyers of the DS 3 Connected Chic will be able to order their motor with a very special key. This uses a bPay payment chip, the type we’re currently used to seeing in our payment cards. It harnesses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology which enables contactless paying where that’s an option.

Is it just like a conventional card?

Yes and no. As with contactless payments made by card, it won’t authorise you to spend more than £30. But it means that if you’re topping up with fuel or buying some necessities on the way home, you do it with your car key. And if you want to review or block payments, you can do so using a bPay app that’s available for Android or iPhones.

Will it be on any more cars?

Currently there are only plans for it to be on this £15,775 DS 3 Connected Chic model. However, if it proves popular DS undoubtedly offer it on more cars. DS Automobiles marketing director Mark Blundell explained: “At DS we’re always looking at how we can credibly complement our customers’ active lifestyles, where staying connected and being able to easily interact with the world is vital. With the DS contactless payment car key, we really feel we’ve achieved this.”

How has the steering wheel developed?

car key

As well as steering the car, the future steering wheel will help you plan your life (Picture © Jaguar Land Rover)

Don’t worry, it’s still round – broadly speaking – and you still use it to control your car. The difference will come in the way we own our cars. According to Jaguar Land Rover in 25 years’ time and beyond, the steering wheel might be the only part of a car we actually buy. Instead of owning a single car, JLR is imagining a future where buyers have access to multiple vehicles and call upon the one of their choice, when and where they need it.

Where does the steering wheel fit?

This new steering wheel is part of the connected car dream. It’s voice activated, employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) and goes wherever you go. It also does an awful lot more than simply steer the car. For a start it will contain all your settings so when you plug it into a car, the radio will be tuned to your favourite station, the seat moved to your position and so on.

How much more intelligent does it get?

How about having a steering wheel that will sort out transport for you? One scenario JLR sketched out is a driver needs to be at a meeting for 8am the following morning. The steering wheel will tell you when to get up, arrange for a car to be driven autonomously to your door for your departure time, and even tell you which parts of the journey you might like to drive yourself. If you fancy seeing the steering wheel of the future, it will be part of the free-to-enter Jaguar Land Rover Tech Fest. This is a display at Central St Martins art, design and technology college in London from September 8-10.

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