Big Automakers Team up for Blockchain Projects
The new consortium will explore blockchain use in vehicle and mobility services.
Major automotive players, such as BMW, Ford, General Motors and Renault, have joined the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) to look into applications of blockchain technology within the sector.
The project, announced at the Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai on Wednesday, brings together car makers, suppliers, technology companies, startups and government agencies. It intends to provide open-source blockchain software tools and standards which could make transportation “safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible”, as specified in a statement on MOBI’s web site.
Specific areas of blockchain use
At the beginning, the blockchain-based initiatives supported by MOBI will cover the following areas:
· Identification of vehicles, people and trips;
· Payments for mobility services;
· Management of ride-share and car-share transactions;
· Tracking of supply chains and providing transparency and efficiency;
· Securing of mobility ecosystem commerce;
· Mobility pricing and payments for vehicles, insurance, energy, congestion, pollution, infrastructure, etc. based on usage.
· Development of data markets for autonomous and human driving.
The MOBI partners
A total of 37 companies are currently partners in the initiative. Among them are car producers Ford Motor Company, BMW Group, Groupe Renault and General Motors, technology firms Accenture, IBM, Context Labs and ConsenSys, suppliers Bosch and ZF, the Hyperledger consortium hosted by the Linux Foundation and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services USA.
Chris Ballinger, chairman and CEO of MOBI, claimed that such a collaboration will speed up the adoption of blockchain technology in the automotive segment to the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities.
“Industry leaders are just beginning to understand the unique characteristics of this technology and its diverse forms. This forum will help put them on the leading edge of blockchain’s possibilities to improve industry efficiencies, safety controls and the overall transportation experience,” according to Accenture managing director Teodoro Lio.
In a similar vein, Groupe Renault engineering director Sophie Schmidtlin said that since blockchain is a decentralized technology, its full potential can be realized within an open ecosystem.
Blockchain already on the automobile scene
The digital mobility ecosystem that MOBI plans to set up fits into a series of moves that intend to introduce blockchain in the automotive industry globally.
In February, German car maker Porsche entered a partnership with Berlin-based start-up XAIN to explore blockchain applications in its vehicles, while BMW teamed up with Singapore-based blockchain supply chain firm VeChain. A subsidiary of accounting firm Ernst & Young Global Ltd. announced in August 2017 plans to launch a blockchain system called Tesseract enabling groups of individuals or companies to share ownership and use of vehicles.
The blockchain-based digital currencies have also found an application in the mobility sector. At the end of March, Ford was awarded a patent for a new coin-backed technology which will be integrated in Ford vehicles and will help ease traffic congestion. German-based car manufacturer Daimler introduced in February its cryptocurrency MobiCoin, which will be used to reward environment-friendly driving.