The Role of Blockchain Technology in Autonomous Vehicles

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The automotive landscape is constantly evolving, carmakers are looking for new and improved technologies to better their vehicles and driving experience. The average car is moving closer to being completely autonomous, connected and hybrid/fully electric. There is an increased need for technology capable of handling the huge amount of data generated with the highest level of security, and blockchain technology is proving to be a viable solution for this.

Automotive companies are figuring out how to utilize the features of blockchain such as distributed ledgers and smart contracts to improve the autonomous vehicle in terms of efficiency, reliability, safety, and overall user experience.

How can blockchain technology improve autonomous vehicles?

Blockchain technology remains at the helm to help take the automotive industry to the next level. The security offered by blockchain in the case of driver data management, identity authorization, e-transactions, etc., seems too good to be true. Blockchain in automotive will open new doors for applications like peer-to-peer (P2P) payments for autonomous vehicles, vehicle sovereignty, connected mobility, and many more.

Data sharing and management is another notable area where blockchain technology can contribute. While autonomous cars generate a huge amount of data related to driving behavior, navigation, vehicle usage, traffic, etc., this data needs to be stored, shared, and analyzed without compromising security. Blockchain technology with its distributed ledger and cryptography enables faster and more secure data management. This efficient data management with blockchain enables self-driving cars to analyze and judge traffic in real-time, reduce accidents, identify best routes, and reduce travel time.

Yet another important use of blockchain technology is connected mobility. Blockchain technology enables fast and efficient two-way communication between vehicles and other supporting facilities in the city and roadways. It can create a trusted network and enable peer-to-peer transactions with a high level of security. According to the Frost and Sullivan report, by 2025, it is likely that 10% to 15% of connected vehicle transactions will be carried out via blockchain. Blockchain enhances the security of autonomous and networked vehicles, as it can bring together manufacturers under a common drive and test database that stores information about simulations, experiments, and faults.

With blockchain technology, smart contracts can simplify many aspects of driving, such as paying for car insurance, repairs, and tolls. Smart contract-enabled automated payments on a blockchain network help save time and paperwork while enabling transparency and security. Furthermore, blockchain-enabled verification of passengers and vehicles can make the process faster and more secure.

Where do car makers stand when it comes to blockchain for autonomous cars?

Blockchain, a technology used by many financial institutions, is ready for use by car manufacturers, retailers, and insurers. Some of the big automotive companies are moving forward to implement blockchain solutions, with many other use cases still under development, such as connected mobility, smart manufacturing, and automated payments. Some of the most famous automotive brands in the world are already investing in blockchain and pushing solutions. An IBM report states that more than 60% of automotive companies will invest in blockchain to produce cars of the future.

A few examples of blockchain projects in the area of self-driving cars are:

  • In 2019, IBM filed a patent for a project that will allow it to manage information and interactions for self-driving cars using blockchain technology. This patent describes technology that will allow autonomous vehicles to predict the behaviors of vehicles around them.
  • Porsche joined hands with XAIN to create a blockchain-based app to lock/unlock cars, grant temporary access, log traffic data, and receive real-time notifications when someone unlocks a car.
  • IOTA blockchain technology geeks have also teamed up with Jaguar to bring smart wallet technology to their vehicles.
  • In 2018, American automotive giant, GM filed a patent for a platform that manages data from autonomous vehicles using blockchain technology. According to the patent, this platform will enable the distribution and communication of data between autonomous vehicles and various facilities in the city or roadways.

The future

Automobiles will no longer be just a means of transportation, and the role of blockchain platforms will be significant in the coming technological revolution. While there are always challenges in integrating new technologies, it is clear that blockchain will change the way the mobility sector works and unfold new solutions that we never thought were possible. Whether it’s protecting financial information or making joint ownership more secure, blockchain could revolutionize the way data is handled in the vehicles of the future – and it’s something worth looking into. Although there may be some doubts along the way, blockchain provides a transparent and tamper-proof process of data exchange, which in the near future will be of maximum value to automakers.