Matrix Charging enables electric vehicles to charge and conduct payments automatically without any human interaction; a use case that could become particularly relevant for autonomous cars.

The Mission Innovation Austria Week is a platform for Austrian and international businesses to demonstrate technologies that provide solutions for today’s and tomorrow’s energy challenges. Among the various products and ideas, one in particular caught our eyes.

lab10 collective, act4.energy, and Easelink introduced a fully automated conductive charging and payment system for electric cars, leveraging blockchain-technology. The concept is called “Matrix Charging.” According to a spokesperson of the partnership, it’s not a proof-of-concept or whitepaper, but a “full-fledged working prototype ready for mass production.”

Cars can charge and pay through the use of decentralized ID and blockchain payments

Limited battery life, a lack of charging stations, and long recharging times are roadblocks for the development of electric cars. There are many ways to tackle the issue, such as plug-in and wireless charging, single-phase or three-phase AC and DC charging using various connector standards, authorization via card, app or simply by connection.

Cars with Matrix Charging Systems can charge automatically when parked over a Matrix Charging Pad. The car simply parks on the Charging Pad. After a system check and an authentication process, the vehicle automatically connects wireless to the Charging Pad.

Once the vehicle is fully charged, the payment will automatically be deducted from the digital wallet of the car owner. Therefore, lab10 collective provides a secure payment service and identity verification system based on blockchain technology. The entire charging and payment process happens without further action from the driver through the use of decentralized ID and payments via the blockchain, eliminating the need for a payment service provider like Visa.

Thomas Zeinzinger, President and Co-founder of lab10 collective, says, “We have seen that the biggest hurdle today is bad user experience with complicated, lengthy and expensive procedures to get an electric vehicle charged.”

“Our blockchain-based solution together with the Minerva wallet and Easelink’s Matrix Charging demonstrates how seamlessly the transition to e-mobility can be. This and similar solutions we are working on will help to speed up the energy transition towards renewables and hence our vision of a zero-carbon society,” he says.

Smart contracts processing energy transactions provide large-scale use case

A fully automated charging and payment system might become particularly relevant when used with driverless cars. The first autonomous cars have already hit the road. Matrix Charging provides a way how those cars could charge without the need for human intervention. That might not be particularly relevant today, but it could become a blockbuster technology tomorrow. 

labs10 collective, which had canceled its planned ICO in 2018, developed the smart contracts used for the automated payment processes. Automated blockchain-based micropayments for energy services are a use case that goes way beyond electric cars. Energy providers could in future use smart contracts to automate the entire energy billing cycle; that’s a multi-billion dollar market.

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