When building an automobile solution linked with connected, autonomous, shared, and electric vehicles, can blockchain make its disruptive presence felt?
Blockchain technology can revolutionize the automobile industry as technologies like machine learning, high-performance GPS, and sensors did. The technology can prove to be of greater relevance when integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and artificial intelligence (AI). Key automakers like BMW, Porsche, Toyota, and more have begun piloting blockchain automobile solutions across various operations like supply chain, security, car service, insurance, and blockchain for autonomous vehicles in recent times.
We will find out how building an advanced solution linked with connected, autonomous, shared, and electric vehicles, blockchain technology makes its disruptive presence felt.
Blockchain suits well for creating new revenue models while strengthening existing ones. It provides capabilities to facilitate micro-payments as per the usage of vehicles and fractional vehicle ownership. It also streamlines and automates vehicle title transfer by establishing one permissioned accessible open ledger. On an as-needed basis, interested permitted parties can access it anytime, for instance, in case of a dispute.
Blockchain supply chain development permits proactive maintenance by informing spare part suppliers and service shops about requirements based on data collected from vehicles.
Blockchain-powered integration of digital contracts, shared inventory and logistics details, pricing, invoicing, and payments can maximize the supply chain efficiency, including vehicle shipments.
The provenance traceability of spare parts on the blockchain will help avoid counterfeit problems, speed up vehicle recalls if necessary, and, as a result, improve vehicle safety.
In areas across finance and accounting, automotive companies may also benefit from using blockchain, such as streamlined back-office functionality.
Also, Read | Blockchain's Implication in the Autonomous Automobile Market
An OEM can issue vehicles sold on a timeshare basis. Trips remain registered on the blockchain database and transfer instantly execute with a single-source, usage-based payment mechanism between owners, operators, and third-party service providers. Also, car ownership is adjustable and shareable on a full or fractional share. Depending on ownership percentage, all owners, including the OEM, get benefit shares.
With blockchain, vehicle miles can become verifiable and protected, enabling drivers who do not use their car to often receive customized premiums.
E-contracts are an advantage that blockchain enables to operate without having a bank or other intermediaries. They facilitate direct, secure movement of money from a buyer to a seller. Indeed, researchers have worked on implementing blockchain in energy grids that might lead to enhanced charging infrastructure for electric cars. To access public charging stations, EV drivers today have to keep a variety of accounts. With blockchain autonomous automobile solutions, all stakeholders can safely exchange data about charging point availability, charger servicing, and charging rates.
The VIN of an automobile remains in the database. It ensures that once a recall occurs, it is easy to contact owners of the same cars with a defect. It results in significantly minimizing dealer costs and eliminating driver discomfort. Having a logbook of a vehicle on blockchain renders forgery obsolete. Second-hand car buyers profit when they know that the seller will exchange checked, incorruptible details regarding its past. They can also exchange the ownership of a vehicle with security and efficiency.
Blockchain can store entire service records of a vehicle. It can also ensure that only OEM-supplied components reach inventory with a quick QR code scan for repairs or replacements. On the other hand, suppliers collect details stored in the blockchain to allow for efficient ordering of pieces.
Blockchain traceability solutions can empower the automotive supply chain to trace and check the origins of components used in a vehicle, straight down to the raw material as soon as it leaves from the mine.
With the increase in demand for EVs, which already use cobalt in their batteries, this is of concern. BMW Group has partnered with Circulor, a London-based startup. They use blockchain-based mapping technologies of the latter to identify cobalt outlets that follow ethical criteria.
Autonomous or Self-Driving Cars
For safe autonomous vehicles, it is crucial to store, interpret, and move volumes of data securely and efficiently. Blockchain is a secure and efficient way to do this. It can eventually lead to expediting the introduction of vehicles at levels 4 and 5.
Also, Read | Achieving Operational Efficiency in Automotive Operations with Blockchain
Daimler piloted blockchain technology in August 2019. It enabled trucks to make blockchain-based machine-to-machine payments without any human intervention.
Commerzbank, a Frankfurt-based bank and financial services company, tested transfers. It used blockchain technologies between trucks and electronic charging points for settlements. The banking company tokenized euros, which then Daimler used to pilot the network to validate and process payments.
GM filed a patent for a blockchain-powered solution in December 2018. It details the handling of autonomous vehicle data and the flow of data transmission and exchange between autonomous vehicles and real-world utilities and facilities. Its data exchange includes a range of information, including navigation, charging and refueling systems, permissions, as well as tracking balances for payable services like tolls and parking.
Also, Read | Blockchain Applications in the Automotive Industry | Advancing Innovation
A more than 30 member-led consortium of automotive companies like BMW, GM, Ford, and Renault introduced MOBI in May 2018.
The objective of the project was the development of the MOBI Vehicle Specification Identification. It sought to establish Vehicle Identity Numbers with a blockchain-based database. It goes further than the existing framework used to register new cars. An electronic blockchain-based wallet maintains digital certificates containing details about car registration, possession, warranties, current mileage, and more. This data turns immutable and cryptographically checked on the blockchain. Then, the car connects with multiple networks, and autonomously pays for parking or tolls. Only approved parties can access a vehicle's info.
Also, it enables service providers and government agencies in real-time to validate credentials and control some data. This link with a vehicle's value chain enables autonomous digital transactions cryptographically.
Also, Read | Improving Automotive Operations with Blockchain Smart Contracts
Though these are ambitious projects, the benefits for the industry are easy to perceive. From the dealership and servicing to vehicle insurance, blockchain solutions that interact with the world can be useful for all.
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