If you’ve ever had second thoughts about pulling out your wallet, cell phone or a wad of cash at a gas station, those fears could soon be driven away by new technology that allows you to pay for things like fuel and food from inside your vehicle.
Chevrolet and Shell recently debuted the Marketplace in-dash fuel payment app, which turns your dashboard touchscreen into an apps hub similar to what you’d see on a smart TV. The system combines commerce with a rewards program, allowing you to save money on the things you buy.
Late last year, Chevy’s parent company, General Motors, debuted Marketplace, touting it as the auto industry’s first in-dash commerce platform. Available now only on 2017 or newer Chevrolets, the system is accessible to more than 2 million drivers who got the app updated on their consoles in December.
Latest car technology: In-vehicle payment system for gas, food
So as not to be a major distraction to the driver, the dashboard only displays a few apps. Yet, there was pushback immediately when the system debuted months ago. Deborah Hersman, the president of the National Safety Council, a consumer safety group, told Bloomberg, “There’s nothing about this that’s safe,” one day after GM let drivers download it for free on their vehicles.
GM feels that they’ve taken safety into consideration by creating a minimalist interface and have designed Marketplace to conform to driver-distraction guidelines, according to Bloomberg.
The company has been experimenting with tech in a large way. It recently partnered with Amazon to offer in-car package delivery.
Other companies are keen to capitalize on GM’s technology, as well. Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have joined Marketplace, so that Chevy drivers can order coffee and snacks from those businesses from the comfort of their driver’s seat.
So far, the program is being piloted in a handful of cities, including Detroit, Houston and Seattle, but it will expand across the country in the next several months, according to GM.
What’s a bit further down the road? GM has signaled that hotel reservations may be coming to Marketplace soon.
RELATED: The ‘Clark Smart’ way to buy a car