Why Jaguar Land Rover may pay cryptocurrency to helpful drivers

Motorists could earn virtual coins by reporting potholes and congested roads

JLR smart wallet
(Image credit: plp.ie)

Jaguar Land Rover has announced plans to reward drivers who record information about their journeys with payments made in cryptocurrency.

The British carmaker is developing “smart wallet” technology that could be installed in its new vehicles, Reuters reports. A digital currency called Iota would then be paid into this virtual coin storage system every time the driver submits information on potholes or congested roads to navigation firms and local councils, the news site says.

The carmaker has yet to confirm how much drivers could earn, but news site Motoring Research claims that the car owners would be able to spend their digital money “on toll fees, parking, electric car charging – and even coffee”.

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JLR claims the scheme will help cut down traffic and encourage local councils to improve road conditions. And if the plan were to reduce congestion, both vehicle emissions and the number of road accidents would also drop, the carmaker adds.

But Top Gear argues that the scheme is “flawed”. In Britain, “there are more potholes than there are traffic lights”, and councils just don’t have to cash to repair them all, the site says.

Despite such criticisms, JLR has begun trialling the system on roads around its engineering site in Shannon, Ireland, in a fleet of Jaguar F-Pace and Range Rover Velar test vehicles, Autocar reports.

Do other carmakers offer customers opportunities to make cash?

The practice of paying customers is a relatively new trend that few manufacturers have embraced as yet.

Last week, Tesla chief executive Elon Musk announced plans to launch a self-driving “robotaxi” service using the company’s current line-up of electric cars.

The service, which Musk hopes to launch next year, is similar to apps such as Airbnb, with car owners temporarily “loaning out” their autonomous vehicles while they pick up and ferry around passengers, The Daily Telegraph reports.

The tech tycoon said that drivers could make $30,000 (£23,100) a year under the scheme, with Tesla taking a 25% to 30% cut.

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