Advanced rearview mirror technologies have made Gentex Corp. a key Tier 1 supplier in the auto industry. Now the Zeeland, Mich., company is pursuing a new mirror function that could position it for changes in the way people will drive in the future.
Gentex has formed a partnership with PayByCar Inc., a Boston provider of in-vehicle payment solutions. The partners use Gentex's Integrated Toll Module that operates via RFID transponder to let drivers pay for gas entirely contactless.
The solution allows drivers to use their smartphone and toll transponder to fuel up at certain gasoline stations without using cash or a credit card.
The module is still early to market and limited in its capabilities. PayByCar's technology is available at only seven locations — four Alltown stations in Massachusetts and three Circle K locations in North Carolina. And it works only with vehicles equipped with a compatible module. For Gentex, that means several Audi models.
But given automaker and parts supplier interest in new revenue streams, the module positions Gentex well for a variety of telematics possibilities, Craig Piersma, Gentex marketing director, told Automotive News.
It also addresses a new hot point for consumers — the COVID-inspired desire for more touchless transaction options.
It is just one step in Gentex's move into products, Piersma said.
"This is just expanding our offerings in the connected car space," he said. "It's about continuing to build on those platforms, add more functionality so that it's more enticing to our automaker customers and ultimately the end user."