Technology has always led the automotive industry forward. (Take a quick look at a new 2020 vehicle and you’ll glimpse 120-plus years of technological advancements inside.) But recent exponential growth in the breadth and depth of technology has created an almost frenzied pace to continue pushing ahead.
If you keep up with automotive news (or, really, just skim the news at all) you’ll know it’s hard to escape headlines that address how the Internet of Things, AI, and big data are changing how cars are designed, made, and driven. From safety and manufacturing to secondary markets, consumer satisfaction, and more, each corner of the industry is focused on advancing technology to meet demands.
But blockchain represents possibly the most exciting opportunity. In simple terms, it’s a digital transaction ledger. But, though information can be distributed to all users, it can’t be copied from the original owner. With its immutable record reliability, it presents a solution to data vulnerability or inaccuracy. Once believed to be relegated to cryptocurrency, blockchain’s adaptability can (and soon will) support and power some of the most critical solutions in the industry.
We know this, of course, firsthand. Carnomaly is developing the Comprehensive Automotive Records Repository, or CARRchain, as a comprehensive vehicle blockchain database. But we are by no means the first to see the immense value in blockchain for revolutionizing this industry.
Below are examples of other current or pending applications of blockchain technology within the automotive industry and its related fields:
Blockchain technology was first created to support the concept of cryptocurrency, which remains its most popular and well-known application. With the increase in crypto adoption, more innovators are searching for the best ways to leverage cryptocurrency for more direct, secure payment in the ownership and maintenance of a vehicle.
Five of the largest automotive names in the world — General Motors, Ford, Honda, Renault, and BMW — are “field testing a blockchain-based vehicle identification system that will let drivers automatically pay parking fees and highway tolls without cash or credit/debit cards,” according to Tony Sagami for Benzinga.
It’s called the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. Using blockchain technology, the system assigns a unique digital ID to every new vehicle. That ID remains linked to the vehicle throughout its entire life, including current ownership information and linked credit cards or bank accounts.
This integrated financial information makes it easy for drivers to automatically pay toll road fees, parking lot fees, or electronic car charging station fees. Seamless integration of digital payment eliminates the toll booths, regional toll ID stickers, and other current solutions that may reduce inefficiency, but not eliminate it.
Customized Insurance Policies
Car insurers understand better than anyone how customized data can prove beneficial for business.
As an industry which benefits from automotive industry safety advancements, they could also benefit greatly from blockchain’s limitless data, according to a recent article from Utimaco.
Blockchain presents the opportunity to create highly specific policies for individual drivers and reduce the time it takes to underwrite those policies, potentially making them even “quasi-automatic.” For instance, drivers who don’t use their car that often would be able to receive valuable, discounted premiums. Reckless or frequent drivers, on the other hand, would be placed under more comprehensive coverage (and not be able to take advantage of certain savings or benefits). Objective vehicle data for each insured driver could be fully verified and secured within a blockchain database to provide a detailed behavioral picture.
Not only that, but smart contracts within the blockchain could automate many steps in the insurance filing process. In short, the power of verifiable consumer data presents the car insurance industry with opportunities to add more certainty behind their policies as well as increase the speed with which insurance claims are reviewed and processed.
Data to Power Self-Driving Cars
Blockchain is the key to big data: while big data comes with quantity, blockchain provides quality.
In the automotive industry, this key connection could be used to the benefit of autonomous vehicles. A Rand Corp report showed that millions of miles of driving data would be needed to get to the point where autonomous vehicles are safe in all conditions. From traffic, road closures, construction, accidents, and more, data would need to be compiled from across organizations all testing their own versions of driverless vehicles.
When connected through a decentralized digital network (like the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative) innovators could access pooled data, helping to increase the speed of development. In addition, for both manufacturers and consumers, the security and validity of blockchain data gives confidence that blockchain could be the answer to safe automation technology — one free from the threat of hacking.
In 11 years, Uber has established a new industry, one worth billions and charting a new trend for how consumers use vehicles. For both ride-sharing and short-term rental vehicles, Disruptor Daily points out, blockchain technology could take the trend to the next level.
Recently, VISA and DocuSign released a plan to utilize blockchain technology to speed up the vehicle leasing process.
Utilizing a blockchain database, companies that operate vehicle fleets will be able to lease vehicles on a micro-level (similar to rental cars or extended ridesharing). A blockchain network could track all the interactions across the fleet, including purchases, trips, events, accidents, and more.
Other advancements, thanks to blockchain’s capabilities, could include an even simpler peer-to-peer car sharing system, improved safety and transparency, and fairer automatic payments for drivers based on trip information.
CARRchain is the Blockchain Solution for Vehicle Data
Blockchain momentum within the automotive industry is increasing. As we view industry trends and leading innovators, we see that now is the time to launch CARRchain and create a solution that can be a leader in blockchain applications for an industry that needs technological innovation to continue to thrive.