Electric cars are becoming too smart for the roads.
Self-driving cars need to retain substantial awareness of their surroundings to navigate the world, which has helped to spur computational advances onboard the next-gen vehicles, and this has opened a new avenue for carmakers. This is why CEO Aldo Baiocchi of Canadian automaker Daymak is developing a new autonomous car that can mine cryptocurrencies while it's parked, according to an initial report from Wired.
And when it goes to market in 2023, the car could mark the beginning of a fundamental shift in the entire auto industry.
Rising computing power in electric cars opens new opportunities
Daymak surged past $350 million in pre-orders, according to a press release last month, and (predictably) it accepts blockchain-friendly payments, including Cardano, Ethereum, and Doge. Doge! The CEO considers crypto to be a visionary, future-oriented market, and once his company's car, called the Spiritus, is released, "we will be in the midst of a blockchain revolution," said Baoicchi in the June release. "Everyone will be paying with crypto by then, and we are building these cars with that in mind." Other auto manufacturers, both electric and fossil fuel-based, are beginning to cram hefty supercomputing power into their vehicles. It's reaching a critical juncture where, in addition to ensuring the smooth functioning of a vehicle, the computing capacity could play a role in national security issues.
"The idea has tremendous potential because we're looking at not thousands, but tens of millions of supercomputers in these cars," said NVIDIA VP of Worldwide AI Initiatives Keith Strier, in the Wired report. NVIDIA has maintained a leading position in the pursuit and development of supercomputers for autonomous vehicles. "In the United States or Germany it may not be as big a deal, but in a smaller country, as autonomous trucks and cars hit the road, it completely shifts the potential for compute (sic) in that country."
Daymak's crypto-mining electric car could set a new industry trend
However, while our cars get smarter and smarter, this also opens up a novel vulnerability to cyberattacks, warn global security experts. A February study released by officials tied to the European Union argues that artificial intelligence makes cars "highly vulnerable" to attacks, which have recently increased in frequency in scale, shutting down Colonial Pipeline's ability to provide fuel to the East Coast in the wake of a cyberattack. "On May 7, the Colonial Pipeline Company learned it was the victim of a cybersecurity attack. We have since determined that this incident involves ransomware. In response, we proactively took certain systems offline to contain the threat, which has temporarily halted all pipeline operations, and affected some of our IT systems," read a statement from the company.
As of writing, Daymak has only revealed impressive renders of the crypto-mining Spiritus, but other companies adjacent to and within the industry are already feeling the waves of changing times. The focus on personal transport vehicles is beginning to shift away from driving alone, to include a scatterplot of various tasks in ordinary life, from streaming shows on Netflix and Hulu to serving as a backup power source for houses amid blackouts. But Daymak's plans for vehicles that mine crypto while charging have yet to take the industry by storm. All to say that while this is a deeply impressive and creative implementation of all-electric and self-driving vehicles' computing power, it could also become a blip on the rollout of next-gen sustainable transportation.