Hyundai UK and charity Cancer Research UK have teamed up to create the world's first 'contactless car', which will enable and encourage digital donations. Ben Griffin was among the first to see the modified Ioniq Electric ahead of its road trip.
Hyundai has created the world's first 'contactless car', a modified Ioniq Electric fitted with a variety of technologies to allow, encourage and reward a charitable donation to Cancer Research UK and the Stand Up To Cancer campaign.
The Ioniq Electric was turned into a mobile payment vehicle using a combination of Raspberry Pi micro-computers and Ardunio micro-controllers. Contactless readers embedded in the car make it easy to donate either £5 or £10 using various digital payment methods.
Besides feeling good, the contactless car subsequently provides the donor with a reward in the form of a modest light show and an audio thank you.
There is also a bespoke LED 'totaliser' display built into the front and rear numberplates that updates the total of all money donated. It only took a second or so for the 10p test donations to register so you know you have made a difference then and there.
The car also has its own 'photo booth'. An Android tablet fitted in the front takes a photo of those willing to donate and then a printer in the back prints it out on weather-proof paper.
The portrait can then be stuck on one of the 1,500 or so squares across the Ioniq. A website will also display the images and you can choose to be entered into a competition to win your very own (slightly less garish) Ioniq.
Other modifications include the ability to plug it in at events to save on power and a second 12v battery to enable any unplanned donation stops along the way.
The project was only given the green light eight weeks ago so we were impressed to see every feature worked without fault. Even our mug shot arrived in mere seconds – testament to the hard work of the team who made it happen.
Helping the cause is more than just a nice thing to do – it's potentially an investment. Did you know 980 people are diagnosed with cancer every day? That works out at one diagnosis every two minutes, which makes it scarily common.
The quicker better treatments or a cure can be found, then, the better. As for whether progress has been made, the cancer survival rate has improved significantly within the last few decades.
"We are extremely proud to be supporting Cancer Research UK this year as an official partner of Stand Up To Cancer, and we’re helping in the way that we know best – with innovation," said Hyundai UK president and CEO, Tony Whitehorn.
He added: "Cancer doesn’t discriminate; one in two people born after 1960 will be diagnosed with the disease at some point in their lifetime. But our world-first Contactless Car will be designed to make joining the rebellion against cancer as easy, convenient, and as engaging as possible.
"I hope that people will come together, with their cards at the ready, and give generously to such an important cause that will save lives across the UK."
The idea is an extension of a Cancer Research UK initiative that saw bucket collectors equipped with contactless payment devices. By the end of the 2016 campaign, 25 per cent of all donations had come from digital payments.
There is other research that suggests contactless payment can help increase overall donations. A Charitable Giving report from 2017 found that 30 per cent of Brits would be more likely to donate if they could using some sort of contactless technology.
A YouGov study of 2,000 participants, meanwhile, found that 15 per cent of people have walked past a donation box simply because they were unable to pay by card.
Rachel Carr, the head of Stand Up To Cancer, said of the world-first initiative: "We’re always looking for new ways to engage and excite supporters and Hyundai has come up trumps with the creation of the world’s first Contactless Car.
"It’s an exciting partnership that brings a fun and simple way of donating to the masses. We’re hoping people across the UK will be impressed and inspired by the vehicle and will choose to tap and donate to support Stand Up To Cancer’s work to bring kinder and better treatments to patients, faster."
This is the first time the car has been seen in the flesh by journalists. It was initially unveiled as a 3D render of what Hyundai planned to build.
Anyone who sees the contactless Ioniq (it's very difficult to miss) will be able to donate using your typical forms of payment, including Visa, MasterCard, V-Pay, Apple Pay and Android Pay. Hyundai hopes to raise around £250,000.
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C for short) is a campaign setup by British broadcaster Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK. It was founded in 2008 and has since seen more than US$481 million in funds pledged and helped fund more than 1,200 scientists and more than 170 clinical trials.
The Ioniq will first appear at King's Cross station on the 22nd of May, 2017, before going on a road trip to Hyundai dealerships across the UK until November, 2017. It will also stop at various events along the way.
The final route is still being decided and there may be some sort of grand finale event – we will keep you posted. In the meantime, check out our Ioniq Hybrid review.