Tuesday , January 22, 2019

In-Car Payments Pioneer Honda Broadens Its Focus Beyond Autos With a New R&D Unit

In-car payments may be taking yet another step forward, along with related connected-car innovations. American Honda Motor Co. Inc. on Thursday said it is reorganizing its innovation arm, Honda Silicon Valley Lab, as a new company called Honda R&D Innovations Inc. The new entity has been created specifically to “expand [Honda’s] areas of focus beyond vehicles and broaden its responsibility to develop partnerships,” the automaker said.

Some of these collaborations are already under way and involve the idea of making payments from within the car. In January, for example, Honda Developer Studio and Visa Inc. demonstrated a mobile-payments app that allows drivers to pay for parking and fuel. Under the reorganization, Developer Studio as well as Honda Xcelerator, a separate innovation program, will operate within Honda R&D Innovations, the automaker said.

Other areas where the newly revamped Honda unit will seek partnerships include connected vehicles and the Internet of Things, as well as self-driving technology, Honda said. The unit will remain headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.

Honda first revealed its progress in in-car payments and related partnerships in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Working with fuel-pump maker Gilbarco Veeder Root and parking-meter operator IPS Group Inc., as well as Visa, Honda demonstrated how a driver can pay for parking and gasoline while sitting at the steering wheel. The system relied on dashboard prompts and Bluetooth connections to parking meters and pumps. Honda said drivers could also authenticate themselves from a smart phone. Visa provided tokenization of card credentials for the demonstration.

Nick Sugimoto, who has been the senior program director for Honda Silicon Valley Lab, will now serve as chief executive of Honda R&D Innovations.

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