Blockchain is Disrupting the Automotive Industry, Here is How.

Asia Blockchain Review
July 1, 2019

Nowadays, the average car has Bluetooth, touchscreen navigation, and lights turn on when it is dark or raining. The trend suggests more technology will find its way into cars, and this is a trend that’s likely to continue.

Consumer behaviour has shifted. We all want nice cars, and in the mind of the consumer, a nice car has technology in it.

The last step and what has been holding us back is that it’s hard to connect cars to the internet.

Like wind-up windows and extendable antennas, the unconnected car will soon be a thing of the past.

How Does Blockchain Fit into The Automotive Industry?

Distilled down into corporate lingo, blockchain is a type of database with public-private key access control, on-chain currency, and immutable corporate policy that’s reusable, which professionals can be paid to write.

That sounds nice, but In truth, no one knows exactly how blockchain will affect the automotive industry.

This report, deloitte – consumer-blockchain-in-the-automotive-industry. coins a  “Wait and See” category for blockchain use cases in the automotive industry.j

Early attempts and trial has been run. The Ford Motor Company launched a blockchain pilot on IBM’s Hyperledger platform to track and source ethical cobalt. The same IBM blockchain is being trialled by Walmart and Merc to track prescription drugs in the US.

Hyperledger, is a framework, or hub, for deploying blockchain services. It is completely open-source and was started in December 2015 by the Linux Foundation. All the code is on the HyperLedger Github.

MOBI is another really interesting project in the space. They selectively give grants to anyone looking to use blockchain technology to make mobility safer, greener, cheaper and more accessible. 

According to the United Nations, 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. That number is likely to increase to 70% by 2050. – MOBI. Transportation will need to change to accommodate this, and blockchain will likely play a role in how we coordinate ourselves

Blockchain Use Cases For The Automotive Industry

  •       Decentralise Vehicle History
  •       Auction Services
  •       Odometer Fraud Prevention
  •       Ride Sharing
  •       Mechanical Monitoring
  •       Supply Chain Optimisation

Smart Contracts and The Automotive Industry

A smart contract is really just instructions. What is valuable is that these instructions are editable. A smart contract can be configured by a developer, or team of developers, into sequential logic that implements a corporate process.

Blockchain will be a single source of truth for parts on a supply chain. When a CV join arrives in the warehouse, it will open another contract for its moval to its next location.

This event, in turn, could trigger another contract that continues to move the part along the supply chain.

Since currency is on the same platform, parties can be paid in real time with security assurances that you can’t get from any other technology bar cash in your pocket. Blockchain can continue this process ad infinitum.

Internet of Things devices will allow us to create more conditional checkpoints on the blockchain. 

You might be thinking, hang on, I can do that now with an excel spreadsheet and a mobile phone. I have an accountant. Well, blockchains might replace a lot of accountants. They will also significantly lower the cost of freight and lead to multifaceted Improvements to the supply chain through online permissionless platforms and noncustodial relationships

“According to Gartner, 40 percent of the world’s blockchain business value-add will be derived from the manufacturing sector.”

There are countless use cases. Odometer fraud, better tracking of a car’s history, or how about paying registration or fuel tax proportionate to how often you drive? Data is powerful, and yeah, if you ride the bus every day you should pay less for registration. Blockchain will make things like this easier.

Sending Instructions To A Self Driving Car Needs To Be Secure

Blockchains are, speaking generally, more secure than how we traditionally send messages and by extension handle computation. They make certain guarantees and allow for assurances about data that you just can’t get from regular web architecture.

For a malicious actor to attack a network, they need to be the first to solve a mathematical puzzle from a hash function. To do this, and to do it faster than all the honest network actors is incredibly expensive. The cost to break bitcoin, electricity, and hardware included, is estimated at over 1B USD, ‘conservatively’. In the process of trying to acquire all this hardware, you would further drive up prices for yourself. Once you had all that hardware you would be out of pocket over half a million dollars per hour as you constantly paid for electricity to maintain the longest chain.

By the time blockchain are ready for mission-critical computations and self-driving car networks, a malicious actor will likely need more than 51% to break a blockchain network, and it seems likely that there would be some kind of node delegation to anonymous trusted third parties, so these kinds of applications, that would make it even more difficult.

A hack that compromised self-driving car infrastructure would be catastrophic. The threat of loss of life and billions of dollars worth of damage scares even the tech giants who are currently in the race. Saying that self-driving car communications will be sent on a completely decentralized network, is probably a little naive, but projects like Ethereum have inspired private blockchains or privileged, cryptographically secure databases that have better security standards than what existed before.

Tesla, Baidu, Uber, Pony.ai, and Waymo are applying maximum effort and billions of dollars towards getting autonomous vehicles on the roads sooner. Will blockchains play a role in this?

Sharing Economy and Automotive Blockchains

This article is becoming one big buzzword but there are potential use cases for blockchains in the fast-growing sharing economy space. Ride-sharing apps might become ride sharing DApps.

Complete decentralization seems far off as a third party would help to shoulder compliance, and it doesn’t really fit into the existing regulatory environment but, if a ride-sharing or car-sharing company could get it right, they would surely benefit from the additional security of using public-private keys to sign messages and having money and computation on the same platform

A successful and user-friendly car-sharing DApp could influence consumer behaviour and maybe even decentralise car ownership.

It’s Only A Matter Of Time Until Blockchains Disrupt the Automotive Industry

It isn’t a question of whether or not the blockchain will disrupt the Automotive industry. It is a question of how significant this disruption will be and when is it going to happen.

We are dealing with technology that is very new. There is a disproportionate amount of attention on blockchain A lot of people made and lost a lot of money trading cryptocurrencies.

It seems like we are coming to the end of the development cycle. As products hit the market and services start to offer blockchain solutions, they could very well become the standard for tracking data, sending payments, managing userbases, ordering parts, pricing cars, recording histories, outsourcing, onboarding, receiving, and manipulating across the automotive industry. 


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