Ford Blockchain Tech to Ease Traffic Congestion

The new car-to-car communication model will use crypto payments.

by Kalina Tekelieva
27 March • 3.5 min
In News

US car manufacturer Ford has been awarded a patent for a new token-based system intended to manage traffic through cooperation between vehicles, US patent authority announced on Tuesday.

Ford will equip its vehicles with a new technology, named Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass (CMMP). It is a crypto-based platform allowing drivers to discuss traffic patterns with each other and trade CMMP tokens to get priority on the road.

A cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC) will manage acceleration and deceleration to optimize road space, as specified in the patent published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Moreover, the CACC will allow vehicles to warn each other about hazards on the road and will thus prevent accidents.

How does it practically work?

Certain vehicles (referred to as ‘consumer vehicles’ in the document) will be temporarily allowed to drive at a higher speed in less-occupied lanes and to merge and pass freely when necessary, while others (‘merchant vehicles’) will voluntarily drive in slower lanes, giving way to consumer cars.

Which one is a ‘consumer’ vehicle and which one – ‘merchant’ is defined in the platform by the drivers themselves.

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Whenever a vehicle (consumer) needs to reach its destination faster, it pays a certain amount of CMMP tokens. Respectively, the vehicles (merchant) which are not pressed to reach their destination as fast, will get CMMP tokens for giving priority to consumer cars.

What causes traffic congestion?

As explained in the document, the blocking of one or several lanes on a multilane road, due to an accident or construction works for example, reduces the flow rate of vehicles through this section. At the same time, what further disrupts traffic is the psychology of drivers who put preference on their individual needs.

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To neutralize this tendency, Ford’s car-to-car communication aims to switch “from individual travel time preferences to group flow rate though the traffic cataract”.

Blockchain innovations in the automotive industry

The patent that the Detroit-based automaker won this week is a step in the direction other players are also heading to. A subsidiary of accounting firm Ernst & Young Global Ltd. revealed in August 2017 it will launch a blockchain system called Tesseract, which enables groups of individuals or companies to share ownership and use of vehicles.

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In February, German car makers BMW and Porsche both announced the introduction of blockchain technology in parts of their businesses. BMW entered a partnership with Singapore-based blockchain supply chain firm VeChain, while Porsche teamed up with Berlin-based start-up XAIN to explore blockchain applications in its vehicles.

Earlier in March, German-based car manufacturer Daimler presented its own digital currency MobiCoin, which will be used to reward environment-friendly driving.