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Now your car pays for you

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Jaguar drivers can now use their car’s touchscreen to pay for fuel with a new cashless payment app.

The Shell app is one of several new enhancements to Jaguar’s F-PACE, XE and XF models. Other updates include the introduction of the latest efficient Ingenium petrol and diesel engines and the addition of convenience features such as gesture technology where the sweep of a foot can open the boot.

Rather than using a card at the pump, or queuing in the forecourt shop, owners who install the Shell app can simply drive up to any pump at a Shell service station (initially in the UK and then globally) and use the vehicle’s touchscreen to select how much fuel they require and pay using PayPal or Apple Pay. Android Pay will be added later in 2017.

An electronic receipt will be displayed on the touchscreen, so customers can leave the forecourt confident of having paid. A receipt will also be sent directly from the pump to the driver’s email address so it can be added to accounting or expenses software.

“In a world where cash is no longer king, customers are increasingly using electronic payments and contactless cards,” said Peter Virk, Jaguar Land Rover’s Director of Connected Car and Future Technology. “Making a payment directly from a car’s touchscreen will make refuelling quicker and easier. With this new system you can choose any pump on the forecourt and pay for the fuel even if you’ve forgotten your wallet or can’t find your credit or debit card.”

“You will save time because there’s no more queuing to pay in a shop, and for drivers with children, it won’t be necessary to wake them up, or unstrap them from their seats to take them into the shop. Expenses and tax returns will also be made much simpler, with no receipts to lose as these will all be sent electronically.”

Unlike current phone-based payment methods, Shell and Jaguar Land Rover have created a simple but secure customer experience that uses geolocation technology and a cloud based pre-payment check with the Paypal or Apple Pay wallet.

“As the world’s number one global fuels retailer, this e-commerce collaboration with Jaguar Land Rover is part of Shell’s commitment to continuously improve the digital experience for our customers at the forecourt,” said David Bunch, Global Vice President Shell Retail Marketing and Chairman, Shell Brands International. “In 2015 Shell introduced mobile payments at the pump in the UK. Today we are proud to offer the next step in cashless motoring, with Jaguar and Land Rover customers in the UK paying for their fuel using the car’s touchscreen. With around 30 million customers every day, we have a mission to continuously find ways to make our customer’s journey’s better. We look forward to further exciting developments like this across our 43,000 sites around the world soon.”

The Shell app with in-car cashless payments will be available to download from 15 February and will be rolled out to additional markets globally during 2017 and 2018 – including South Africa.

“We are working with leaders in e-commerce such as Shell to enable our customers to enjoy cashless motoring via their car’s touchscreen. Whether it’s paying for fuel, parking, tolls, or even at a drive-through restaurant, the aim of cashless motoring is to make life easier for our customers,” said Virk. “Our technology allows users to put their phone away out of sight and use it via the touchscreen in the car, because as the car becomes more connected to the Internet of Things, we will always be guided by what is appropriate and safe to do while driving. So in-car payments would only be enabled when it is safe to do so, preventing unnecessary driver distractions.”

 

2018 model year Jaguar F-PACE, XF and XE

The new in-car cashless payment app will be available across the enhanced Jaguar F-PACE performance SUV, F-TYPE and XF and XE sports sedan model ranges, as well as the latest Land Rover models.

The enhancements to the 2018 model year (MY) F-PACE and XF include the introduction of two new higher-output engines, the 177kW diesel Ingenium engine and the advanced new 183kW Ingenium petrol engine join the line-up.

For 2018MY, the XE sports sedan is available with a 183kW automatic derivative of the new four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine, giving customers greater choice than ever. Drivers looking for even more dynamic performance can opt for the upgraded XE S, with its thrilling 280kW, 3.0-litre V6 engine – up from 250kW – shared with the F-TYPE sports car.

Both the enhanced XE and XF sports sedans are available with Gesture Boot Lid functionality, making loading and unloading more convenient, while Jaguar’s Configurable Dynamics technology is introduced as a standalone feature on both vehicles, allowing drivers to personalise the gearshift, throttle response and steering settings.

A virtual 12.3-inch TFT instrument cluster with full-screen 3D navigation and the availability of Dual View touchscreen technology also provides customers with added convenience as part of the updates.

Cars

Mini embraces innovation

Mini has launched its 2018 models with customisable interior features and major technology upgrades, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Mini has never been known as a high-tech car, due to its small form factor being the differentiator. But now the well-known brand has received a long-awaited strategy overhaul, bringing with it a new technology focus. Even the Mini logo underwent a subtle redesign, opting to use negative space to show the gaps in the wings of the logo instead of a raised metal look. This forms part of the new “MINImalism” strategy. 

Mini’s strategy for now and the foreseeable future is to increase automation in its cars.

Connected Drive, pioneered by BMW, allows for an intelligent connection between the car and smartphone. This enables one to check the fuel level, heat the interior and start the onboard navigation, all without having to be near the car, from a smartphone. When one is in the car, calendar events with location data can trigger the onboard navigation to calculate ETAs and time in traffic, offset on real-time data collected through the smartphone’s Internet connection.

We tested it with both the Mini Connected Drive and BMW Connected Drive apps, and both interfaced well with the car. Surprisingly, the BMW Connected Drive app seemed to interface slightly better with the Mini than the Mini Connected Drive app.

While the app is recommended, it’s not required, because the car integrates excellently with Bluetooth-enabled devices. iPhone users are in luck, because the entertainment system includes CarPlay, Apple’s simplified connected car interface software. This allows for music, maps and other CarPlay-enabled apps to be shown directly on the car’s touchscreen ,as they do on the iPhone, save some text-sizing adjustments. 

Pairing the iPhone is as easy as holding down a button on the steering wheel and tapping the car when it appears in the built-in CarPlay menu on the iPhone. No app download is required.

MINImalism runs through the car’s technology. The Mini’s 6.5-inch touch screen control panel shows an image of the car with layman’s terms of what the internal systems are doing, keeping to minimalist design patterns. The new Mini Coopers come standard with a Harman/Kardon 12-speaker setup, which features in the Mini Connected Drive. 

The steering wheel is redesigned, now featuring more buttons to help keep one’s hands on the wheel. The left side of the wheel features cruise control buttons, while volume and call controls are located on the right side. This bears a strong resemblance to the BMW configuration, featuring similarly placed steering controls. 

With all the Mini’s customisations, the company invites consumers to take it further with optional extra.s Mini Yours Customised (yours-customised.mini) is a web platform where one can choose custom side scuttles, custom cockpit facia, customised LED door stills and even a customised door projection light. These parts are either 3D-printed or laser-cut, depending on the material, to the specification outlined on the web app.

As optional extras, one can opt for a wireless charger in the armrest compartment and secondary front USB port for both the driver and front passenger, to charge their phones simultaneously. A SIM card connecting to the 4G/LTE network can be fitted directly into the car, allowing for use of Mini Teleservices and Intelligent Emergency Calling, with automatic vehicle location reporting. The Mini Find Mate is an extra service that uses wireless tags to track items from the car’s onboard system or from the Mini Connected Drive app. This tag can be attached to frequently misplaced items or travel items, like  backpacks, suitcases and briefcases.  

Future Minis are expected to be electric by 2019 in Europe and are expected to arrive in South Africa in mid-2020. This seems realistic, considering that the BMW i3 forms part of the same group. 

Overall, the Mini range has received a subtle yet effective cosmetic and technology overhaul, delivering loads of functionality in a minimalist package.

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Why SA needs connected taxis

Traffic across South Africa continues to be a headache and digital acceleration may just be the answer in mitigating daily congestion, says CLAYTON NAIDOO, General Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Cisco.

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Creating smart cities and digital workplaces means connecting infrastructure and digitizing transport systems, particularly in the taxi industry. Can you imagine what South Africa roads would looks like in 10-years-time, if taxis were connected?

According to Statistics SA’s 2013 Household Survey, taxi operators transport over 15 million commuters daily.  Around 200,000 minibus taxis, across 2 600 taxi ranks, provide the main mode of transport for 50% of SA’s population earning less than R3 000 per month. 

The impact of the taxi industry on the daily lives of South Africans is huge, research by Transaction Capital, a financial services provider in the taxi industry revealed.   An estimated 70% of people who attend educational institutions make use of taxis, 69% of all South African households use taxis in their transport mix, and a staggering 68% of all public transport trips to work are in taxis. Plus, minibus taxis reach remote places other forms of public transport don’t – the average South African lives within a 5-minute walk of a minibus taxi. 

Sadly, the industry is still faced with challenges when it comes to road congestion, accidents and safety, and with drivers often forced by financial needs to work long hours. But a future where taxis can operate efficiently and profitably, while improving safety and providing a more convenient customer and employee experience, is possible. But it requires a digital business transformation. 

Our cities need to start connecting infrastructure and piloting these digital experiences now. Globally, there will be 380 million connected vehicles on the roads by 2020, but that is only half the battle. The first step toward making the frictionless commute a reality is for local governments to begin investing in technology architectures and physical infrastructure to accelerate connected transportation systems and create workplace innovation. 

On the strategic side, transportation officials can begin by identifying best practice. It is best to first pinpoint a problem that is unique to a city or region. For example, a city with notorious traffic congestion might want to start integrating smart sensors on roadways to alert drivers and connected vehicles in real-time of potential hazards, and possibly prevent accidents before they happen.

How would that look in practice? Let’s take the example of Sipho Ngwenya, a fictional character, from Zola in Soweto, one of the 600 000 people employed in the industry. 

He gets up at 4am everyday to get to the taxi rank where he parks his mini bus overnight. Sipho hopes to be one of the first drivers there to ensure he fills his taxi with commuters, who travel to the northern suburbs of Johannesburg for work and school. 

The earlier he starts transporting people, the better chance he has of generating the daily “rental fee” he pays his boss – the owner of the minibus. If Sipho is even 10 minutes late, the queue of people at the rank may have halved. If his taxi is the last one in the queue, it may not fill up, and he may need to drive around the block to find more commuters. The delay means longer hours for him, his conductor-cum-assistant (guardjie) will have to spend more time calculating and collecting fares, and it will increase his costs – he’ll spend more money on fuel.

Fast forward six-months later, when the Joburg metro area would have implemented the Cisco Connected Mass Transit technology solution to connect the taxi industry. Sipho’s alarm goes off at 4am. He grabs his phone and logs onto the Cisco platform before he jumps out of bed: the weather is clear but there’s been an accident overnight on his route to the rank – he’ll have to take a detour. He checks once again just as he leaves home, and sees that he has time to grab breakfast on his way. 

He is the first driver to arrive at the rank that morning – stress-free and ready to start. The rest of the minibuses are stuck behind the accident. He loads commuters and manages to get all of them to their destinations 10 minutes early, by checking the best routes.  Payments are no longer collected in person – there is now an easy mobile payment option that customers love, especially the young ones. And Sipho no longer needs to search for commuters – they stop his minibus on the road because it is marked as a ‘connected minibus’. This is a smart workplace.

These digital solutions are real and available to the SA taxi world. There are some caveats, though: Cisco’s international experience shows that these solutions are best implemented alongside awareness campaigns for commuters and government incentives to drive adoption, as well as ensuring the regulatory environment is conducive. Luckily, technology itself isn’t too much of a problem: the solutions work with existing IT systems local governments have installed.

Imagine South Africa in a decade. Now imagine a South Africa where traffic congestion is a thing of the past. 

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