Is “auto-tech” the new fintech?

When you think of companies that receive a high number of technology patents, large institutional tech firms like IBM, Microsoft or Oracle may come to mind, or the new tech giants like Amazon and Google.

However, while you may not immediately associate automakers with innovation, as it turns out things are hanging on in the century-plus-old industry. Ford was one of the most prolific patent recipients last year, with 53 more than Google and 88 more than Amazon. As Bloomberg writes, the auto industry has been trying to “shake their image as old-school manufacturers and fashion themselves as ‘mobility’ companies, pouring billions of dollars into self-driving car technology and new transportation services to move people and goods.”
Automobiles will likely also play a key role in the future of “connected” payments. Some financial services companies are already thinking about how to bring commerce to your car. Picture a scenario where a person prepays for fuel from the payments account embedded in their vehicle while pulling up to a gas station, or pays a restaurant from the car while they’re driving there to pick up food. Indeed, cars may be at the forefront of the evolving fintech landscape.

This article was published as part of Weekly Briefing No. 156