State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance has filed a patent for a method that allows autonomous vehicles to function as electronic payment devices. The method involves the vehicle determining its fuel level, providing navigation directions to a merchant location, transmitting a fuel purchase request to a merchant communication terminal, and controlling the fuel tank cover to open for refueling. GlobalData’s report on State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

According to GlobalData’s company profile on State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance, digital lending was a key innovation area identified from patents. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Using an autonomous vehicle as an electronic payment device

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO). Credit: State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230206203A1) describes a computer-implemented method and system for using an autonomous vehicle as an electronic payment device. The method involves several steps carried out by one or more processors in the autonomous vehicle.

Firstly, the method includes determining the fuel level in the autonomous vehicle using a fuel level sensor. If the fuel level is below a certain threshold, the processors provide navigation directions for the vehicle to navigate to a merchant location. Once the vehicle arrives at the merchant location, a request to purchase fuel is transmitted to a merchant communication terminal at the location. Additionally, the processors control the fuel tank cover to open it for receiving the fuel.

The patent also includes additional features. For example, the processors can provide an indication to the merchant communication terminal that the fuel tank cover is open and provide the position of the fuel tank opening. In response to this indication, the merchant communication terminal can cause a fuel pump to automatically provide fuel to the autonomous vehicle by extending a mechanical arm attached to a nozzle into the fuel tank opening.

Furthermore, the method involves measuring the change in fuel level within the vehicle's fuel tank using the fuel level sensor. The processors then compare the payment amount indicated in an electronic receipt to the estimated cost for the fuel based on the change in fuel level. If the estimated cost and payment amount differ by more than a threshold amount, the processors can detect a fraudulent charge.

The patent also describes a computer system configured to use an autonomous vehicle as an electronic payment device. This system includes one or more processors, sensors, and/or transceivers in or on the autonomous vehicle. The system performs similar functions as the method described above, including determining the fuel level, providing navigation directions, transmitting a request to purchase fuel, and controlling the fuel tank cover.

In summary, this patent proposes a method and system for using an autonomous vehicle as an electronic payment device. By integrating payment capabilities into the vehicle, it allows for convenient and automated fuel purchases at merchant locations. The system also includes features for detecting fraudulent charges and ensuring a smooth fueling process.

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GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.