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BMW and RingGo ease your parking pain with integrated payment system

 Published 20th July 2021
Driver Guides  General Guides 

Parking apps seemed like such a good idea when they were launched. No more concerns about whether you had the right change, or were prepared to risk missing your train while you tried to get the dial-up payment system to work.

In practice, though, parking apps have not necessarily been the help that we all hoped for. Knowing which app you need before you reach your car park would be helpful. Or, better still, a single app that would enable you to pay for parking regardless of who operates the car park. That way we wouldn't end up with a number of parking apps on our phones that we use once in a while and in some cases, never again. Then if you use a variety of vehicles, at least it is easier to change or add a vehicle using an app, but it's still an added delay that you don't need.

BMW is offering a way to make life easier still, by incorporating the RingGo App into the BMW Infotainment system. While it may not remove all the frustrations of using a parking app, it is a step in the right direction. The development will be available to over 150,000 BMW drivers around the UK, who will now be able to arrange and pay for their parking using the touchscreen in their car. There's no need for a phone or cash.

“The new feature will be delivered as an integrated vehicle app and installed automatically over-the-air on all BMW vehicles in the UK which have Operating System 7 and built from July 2018,” says Chris Hollis, ConnectedDrive and Technologies Product Manager at BMW. So, if you drive a BMW that fits the requirements, you won't have to do anything other than wait for the system update to take place.

“It is another demonstration of the rapid evolution of integrated motoring, parking and mobility services, which puts motorists in control and removes any barriers in transitioning from one to another,” comments Peter O'Driscoll, UK Managing Director of RingGo.

BMW and RingGo parking app

Integration of in-vehicle apps will continue to increase as drivers seek greater functionality and ease of use in the same way that they expect their smartphones to work.

Parkopedia, the parking information provider is typical of what's available; AccuWeather is another. But closer integration of in-car payment systems is broadening.

Volvo is working with Google's Android system to fully integrate the Google suite of apps within the infotainment system;

Meanwhile Jaguar Land Rover's InMotion Ventures , the future venture capital arm for mobility of the car maker, has invested in an app called Caura, described as a native ‘vehicle companion app'. Caura can be embedded into a vehicle's infotainment system alongside maps, communications, and entertainment, enabling car owners to manage all aspects of car-related payments and administration directly while onboard. These include managing parking, tolls, congestion charges, MOT, and insurance.

Rob Marshall, Operations Director of Gateway2Lease, comments:

“While we are all used to our In-car infotainment systems delivering audio, communication, and navigation facilities, not to mention battery range for electric cars, these new in-car payment app systems offer a brilliant way for business drivers to pay seamlessly for parking, tolls, tax, and congestion - all those everyday driving events that fleet drivers face most days. Taking away the friction will be a massive plus point for drivers.”

Still, for BMW drivers, parking will never be the same again - thanks to the tie up with RingGo in the BMW operating system.

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