Each June, the CeBIT computer expo in Hanover, Germany, allows major companies to showcase how exciting new technologies will be integrated into their products and services. CeBIT is the largest expo of its kind, and it’s widely seen as the most important event for gauging cutting-edge trends in business-focused IT innovation.
At CeBIT 2018, Volkswagen demonstrated the results of their long-hyped partnership with IOTA.
IOTA has positioned itself as an ideal blockchain solution for machine-to-machine (M2M) data transfer. Based on DAG ledger technology referred to as “the tangle,” IOTA has been designed to facilitate low-cost and near-instant transactions. Unlike the traditional blockchain model pioneered by Bitcoin, where transactions are verified by miners, IOTA transactions are verified by other concurrent transactions. This theoretically does away with the slow transaction times, high fees, and other network congestion issues that have plagued blockchain platforms such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The above video shows how this technology could be vital to automobiles of the future. By 2020, its predicted that 75% of cars will be networked to the Internet of Things (IoT), and IOTA can play a huge part in dynamic delivery of software updates and other services to these vehicles.
Even more exciting is how IOTA could be integrated with driverless vehicles. Driverless vehicles are a rapidly-developing reality that are almost certain to transform the automotive industry within the coming decade. At CeBIT, Volkswagen showed how IOTA can be used to maximize the potential of driverless car technology.
Integrating an IOTA wallet with IoT-connected driverless vehicles will allow cars to make and receive payments autonomously. This means electric vehicles will be able to pay for recharging by themselves. Owners will also be able to instruct their vehicle to pick up other passengers autonomously, making passive income through using their car as an automated ride-sharing service.
The CarIOTA project will also dynamically collect and share sensor-gathered information on things like vehicle speed and engine temperature. This can both help alert owners to any issues related to car maintenance, as well as providing vehicle manufacturers with an incredible amount of data on the real-world performance and use of their products.
An Industry-Wide Phenomena
In 2017, Volkswagen became the world’s largest automotive group , with luxury car brands including Bugatti and Lamborghini falling under its umbrella. Volkswagen is currently ranked by Forbes as the world’s seventh largest company. This partnership is huge both for IOTA and for mainstream blockchain adoption in general.
But Volkswagen is far from the only automotive company taking serious steps towards integrating blockchain technology with their vehicles.
Launched in May 2018, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) brings most of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers together with leading technology companies and blockchain startups . MOBI’s membership accounts for 80% of global automobile production, with household names including BMW, Ford, GM, and Renault. On the technology side, some of MOBI’s biggest names include IBM, Accenture, and ConsenSys.
MOBI’s first project utilizes blockchain technology to create a ‘car passport,’ providing an irrevocable record of a vehicle’s ownership and service history. This innovation will add transparency to the notoriously opaque second-hand car market, making it impossible for resellers to lie about the condition or history of a resold vehicle.
The aim of the MOBI consortium is to allow innovative blockchain startups to work directly with an industry-wide collection of tier-one automotive producers, and thus speed up the process of mainstream blockchain integration and adoption. CPChain is one example of a blockchain project which could reap enormous benefits from bringing their innovative data exchange infrastructure directly to the automotive industry’s biggest players.
Another partnership with enormous potential consequences is that between VeChain, DNV GL, and BYD. DNV GL is the world’s largest tech consultancy firm in the area of renewable energy, while BYD is China’s largest automotive manufacturer and the world’s top-selling manufacturer of plug-in electric vehicles.
VeChain and DNV GL have together developed a carbon credit app deployed via the VeChainThor blockchain network that will reward vehicle owners for driving performance and reduction of the vehicle’s carbon emissions.
As well as private automobiles and electric vehicles, BYD is a major manufacturer of trucks and buses. The carbon credit app could therefore have a huge impact on reducing carbon emissions for Chinese logistics enterprises and public transportation services.
VeChain’s technology can also be used to seamlessly collect and integrate all manner of vehicle data, including information pertaining to damage, maintenance, mileage, and repairs, as well as a comprehensive record of driving information recorded in real-time. Aside from the implications for the second-hand resale market, this data will be of enormous use to insurance agencies. Major Chinese automotive insurance companies including the People’s Insurance Company of China are partnering with VeChain to see these innovations reach their full potential.
Transforming the Automotive Industry
The initiatives and partnerships spearheaded by projects and consortiums like IOTA, MOBI, and VeChain have enormous potential consequences for all aspects of the automotive industry. From providing transparent and trusted data on all aspects of vehicle maintenance management to enabling driverless cars to operate fully autonomously, blockchain technology will have a huge role in shaping the vehicles of the near future.
Real-world development is currently occuring at pace. IOTA has already created the world’s first smart car charging station in the Netherlands, and more are sure to follow.
With virtually all the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers entering into partnerships and consortia to develop and integrate blockchain technology, the automotive industry will surely be one of the most important areas for real-world adoption of blockchain technology.