Cars are the
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Dream Drive

Just hope it never says, “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

If Honda has its way, soon your car’s dashboard will offer more than air conditioning controls, music, maps, and a parallel parking assist. It will literally become a payment vehicle—pun intended.

That’s thanks to Dream Drive, which Honda described in a recent press release as …

… the automotive industry’s first integrated driver and passenger infotainment, commerce, services and rewards dashboards within the vehicle environment.

Honda has been working with Visa since 2016 “… to build and enhance the in-vehicle payment experience to make payments more convenient and secure.” And now …

Honda is expanding its in-vehicle payment collaboration to include Mastercard and PayPal. Collectively, Honda is working with these partners to create the vehicle experience of the future.

Drivers can access some Dream Drives features via a touchscreen mounted on the dashboard above the radio to “… pay for goods and services like fuel, movie tickets and parking, make restaurant reservations, food ordering for pickup or delivery, and even share the driver’s location with friends and family.” Passengers can as well, and they can use mobile devices to access additional features to “… play mixed reality games, watch movies, listen to music, read original comics stories, use travel applications, explore new points of interest along the route, and control the radio and cabin features.”

If concern about distracted driving popped into your mind, it popped into Honda’s, too.  Honda claims that the device offers “… a broad range of convenient services and engaging entertainment options, while minimizing the potential for driver distraction.” One can only hope. We already know the dangers of driving while using a cell phone. What is lesser known is that driving while calling on a hands-free device is equally dangerous or nearly so. Honda’s assurances aside, if and when Dream Drive technology becomes ubiquitous, let’s hope drivers use it only when the vehicle is stationary.

Dream Drive is not yet on the market, but even as I write Honda is showing off demos at CES in the Las Vegas Convention Center, where a year earlier it put in an appearance in the concept stage.

Dream Drive and a Coke bottle

Dream Drive doesn’t appear to bring much to the party by way of features that portable devices haven’t already brought. It may not matter. Technologies as solutions in search of problems often succeed in finding them. 

In the 1980 movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, an empty Coke bottle carelessly dropped from an airplane finds its way into the hands of a tribe of bushmen. The curious, never-before-seen object soon becomes useful for curing leather, making music, stamping patterns on headbands, grinding food, and cracking husks. “Suddenly everybody needed it most of the time,” quipped the narrator. “A thing they had never needed before became a necessity.”

The Coke bottle is not unlike many of today’s commercially successful technology products. Thirty years after The Gods Must Be Crazy was produced, Apple introduced iPad. Like bushmen finding a Coke bottle, consumers and the media reacted to iPad with bemusement. Whatever is it for?, many of us wondered. We soon found out. Now we can’t live without the darned things.

To banks, portables have become something of a branch office. Thanks to Honda Motors, every car on the road may someday be one, too.

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