Blockchain & Automotive
Since their existence, automobiles have always been met with great interest from the public. Cars are seen as a means of transport, as a way to express yourself, as a toy and as a job. However, the entire industry is at the brink of explosive change, the likes we haven’t seen since the adaption of petrol in 1885 by Karl Friedrich Benz.
The great minds in the automotive industry are figuring out the best ways of implementing all the new technologies and product advancements available which together can be seen as a ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
Diesel scandals and the general distancing of governments towards petrol cars are accelerating the development of usable electric cars and batteries. The general public seems to have embraced the concept, and OEM’s are reserving a bigger part of the development budget towards electric cars and technology with each passing year with manufacturers like Tesla in the vanguard.
Besides the propulsion method, the industry is seeing a multitude of new technologies advancing the intelligence of their vehicles with astounding progress. Autonomous self-driving and connected cars are here, and with all the projects and collaborations that are taking place between top OEM’s the next 5 to 10 years are being set up to change the automotive sector more than in the last 100 years combined.
And they are changing just in time. Consumer standards are increasing, demanding cleaner cars, and competition is coming from an unexpected industry with companies like Google and Apple also trying to take a piece of the pie.
It should come as no surprise that blockchain technology is showing to be a key differentiator and enabler in the next decade in regards to cutting costs, enhancing transparency and making all these new technologies possible. Big brands like BMW and Jaguar Land Rover are testing the technology in their cars, while other brands are looking at blockchain technology to help them reduce costs and increase traceability in their supply chain.
We are confident that all these factors combined will launch the Automotive into a new era, and blockchain will be the gamechanger the sector needs.
Use cases for blockchain and automotive
First, let’s look at how blockchain can empower the industry outside of the vehicles themselves.
Supply chain management is one of the most important parts of any OEM, car parts manufacturer or car dealer. From the assembling of cars to purchasing new parts, and even the entire (second hand) car itself, businesses need to know that what they buy is held to the highest standard and was manufactured where it was supposed to. Blockchain will guarantee that the registration of the parts and the parts itself are verified and encrypted on the blockchain. Thieves stealing navigation systems or other car parts will have a hard time finding buyers for their stolen wares, and imagine the new level of honesty and transparency if all odometers have their information stored on a blockchain. Better yet, imagine all vehicle history information is encrypted and stored on a blockchain, showing potential buyers exactly what they are going to purchase.
Car parts can be tracked from the manufacturing plant to the end-user, even checking if certain parts have been exposed to very high or low temperatures, excessive G forces or other irregular conditions, and the items will be able to show their authenticity.
A different use case for blockchain in the automotive sector is enhancing the owner and documentation process of registering and selling vehicles. Currently, it takes a lot of time and resources to verify a car has changed owners. Blockchain will make sure that with one simple contract or transaction, everyone is updated with who the new owner of the car is. Middlemen will be obsolete and there will no longer be any issues regarding lost documentation, eliminating a pretty big bottleneck and reducing time and costs in the process.
Cars nowadays are essentially driving computers. They harvest and distribute large amounts of data. Data about the status of the vehicle, where you are going, what kind of radio stations you are listening to, car emission data and the list goes on and on. Blockchain will enable this data to be encrypted and prevent a Facebook-like situation where peoples’ private data is being used to influence them.
Besides (mis)using our data, the vehicles of the future will also be able to monitor what happened during an accident, saving it on the blockchain for the authorities and insurance companies to inspect, what happened and who is to blame. This enables a fairer fee system for their clients. And people that behave well on the road could be rewarded automatically with tokens that can be used to pay for services on the road.
Blockchain technology will also give birth to several convenient enhancements to the driving experience. Smart contracts can be allowed to automatically pay for your parked car, and for exactly the amount of time you parked. Toll booths could automatically be paid for by your car (perhaps paying less outside of traffic hours). Other possibilities might include automatic lease payments, signing into a car-sharing facility with your blockchain pass, automatically paying for your ride and many more. The opportunities keep increasing.
If you combine all the new developments in the sector it’s not that hard to imagine what a driving experience will be like in 10-20 years: You go to a car-sharing parking spot and wait only seconds before your self-driving electrical car drives in front of you. The car looks flawless. The doors open and you are automatically signed into the system. You choose to use the road outside common traffic hours and are rewarded with some tokens. During your commute, you are free to do some work. The toll booth you just passed is partly paid for by the tokens you received earlier. After reaching your destination your car automatically drives to a nearby garage where it is fitted with the latest updates, awaiting its next customer.
It may seem far away, but the combination of these different technologies will jumpstart the next automotive era, making driving a far less deadly, more environmentally friendly and enjoyable experience.
We will continue to digest all new endeavors in this space which include blockchain and cryptocurrencies. We are certain that blockchain technology will add fuel to the already big pile of new and promising technologies that will rocket the automotive industry into a much needed new era. Be sure to follow us too and join our email list to get notified when we finished a new review of write up of one of the projects inside the automotive space!