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Is Blockchain Gaining Momentum in the Automotive Sector?

22 October 2019 12:46, UTC
Is Blockchain Gaining Momentum in the Automotive Sector?
By Evie Harrison

The automobile industry has constantly embraced new technology solutions to solve the challenges it faces in production, supply chain, sales, logistics, customer service, and much more. With accelerated growth in the past few decades, the auto sector has become a hotbed for innovations where manufacturers are continuously looking for new and improved solutions.

29.08.2019  |   in Artificial Intelligence
An area that has recently been espoused by the automotive industry and extensively being utilized by popular automobile brands in recent years is the blockchain. As a distributed ledger technology managed by a P2P network, blockchain holds the potential to improve operational processes, reduce costs, and help manufacturers gain an edge in the highly competitive environment.

Blockchain technology has opened a world of innovative opportunities by allowing automakers to test new ways and add exciting features to future cars. The technology is gaining momentum in the automotive sector, and in the following section, we will cover some of the latest developments that happened in the industry.

Blockchain’s role in the automotive industry

Much has been written about the announcements of leading car manufacturers joining hands with blockchain-based companies. Automotive giants like Toyota, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Tesla, Porsche, Ford, and many others are currently developing new blockchain solutions to implement in their vehicles.

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Porsche is perhaps the first company in the sector to test blockchain in their systems. It tested the capability of blockchain to allow users to interact with their vehicles and use the technology to lock or unlock a vehicle. Volkswagen is also testing blockchain to prevent odometer frauds while Tesla and BMW are exploring ways to utilize blockchain and speed up the production of fully autonomous vehicles.

Since blockchain solutions are highly transparent and secure, this makes it an inevitable technology today. Below, we walk you through applications of blockchain technology in the automotive industry.

1. Transparent vehicle history:

Every day, we find people buy a car and make costly mistakes when choosing a used vehicle. It is because they are not only unaware of the previous owners, but also, they do not know if the replaced parts are original or counterfeit. Counterfeit auto parts are not original and affect the performance of your vehicle.

Blockchain aims to solve this problem with its tamper-proof database solutions, which will store all the vehicle’s data since its production. This includes data about ownership, service, accidents, and replaced parts, which will contribute to the transparency and security of the automotive sector. This will also translate into better licensing of intellectual property and an efficient supply chain. The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) is already building solutions to trace the full lifecycle of a vehicle.

2. Vehicle data security:

The future cars are moving towards complete autonomy, which means that they will generate an enormous amount of useful data that will need to be stored, shared, and secured. Intel reports that a single autonomous vehicle will generate as much as 4,000 GB of data per day. While these changes are inevitable, we cannot leave this data susceptible to deadly cyber-attacks.

Fortunately, blockchain is the ideal place for storing and sharing this data as it cannot be altered due to the strong cryptographic roots of the blockchain. Blockchain will also allow users to have greater insight into who is accessing the data and how it is used. This will grant users more leverage when it comes to consenting to the use of data.

3. Vehicle maintenance:

Car maintenance should not be expensive if you can assess every warning light and know what you are doing. However, continuing to drive a car that needs a checkup is a recipe that will lead to more expensive problems. The American Automobile Association (AAA) found in their study that a new vehicle, including sedan, SUVs, EV, and Pickup Truck, will cost around $8,469 per year on average in typical wear and tear, and other maintenance costs. If all the vehicle’s data were put to good use, the maintenance of a car wouldn’t be so costly.

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Blockchain aims to connect the many sub-sectors of the auto industry and save your time and money. By connecting mechanics to your vehicle’s data from a remote location could enhance the convenience and save you the frequent and costly upkeep costs. Renault has partnered with Microsoft and VISEO to create an immutable vehicle maintenance history with blockchain.

4. In-car wallets:

With the use of smart contracts, the future commutes will be a lot more convenient and secure. You can already pay the tolls automatically, but you still have to pay the fees to the credit card provider and the company that manages the system. With an Ethereum smart-contract, all your toll fees will be paid instantly as you pass through the gate with great speed and security.

The vision of automatic fee or tax can become even broader and extend to the likes of parking fees, state parks, meter payments, and so on. Ford has given the concept a test drive with its patent for vehicle-to-vehicle crypto transactions.

5. Car theft prevention:

Car theft is easier than ever. The number of vehicles being stolen today has risen to the highest level in almost a decade, and as per the reports of The Telegraph, more than 90 percent of car thieves aren’t being caught. Car theft victims lost $5.9 billion in 2016, while 77 percent of the car theft cases in the UK were closed even without the suspect being identified.

Blockchain technology can stop this menace to the automotive society by providing the highest level of authentication. It is not implausible that the Porsche’s solution can be tailored to vehicle security. The use of identity-specific unlocking mechanisms powered by biometric data secured by blockchain can prevent break-ins and significantly reduce vehicle thefts.

Conclusion

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Although blockchain was initially developed for bitcoins, today, it has found uses in industries beyond cryptocurrency. The automotive sector has started to take note of this new technology, and it is not far to see a new generation of vehicles making use of the unlimited power of the distributed ledger and untempered data.

About the author:

Evie Harrison is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and expresses herself through her blogs. Find her on Twitter:@iamevieharrison



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