Porsche have said that they have started testing blockchain applications in their cars. The luxury car manufacturer had said in February that it was collaborating with German start-up XAIN, to integrate and test blockchain in their cars.
Porsche stated in a press release that the company would be “the first automobile manufacturer to implement and successfully test Blockchain in a car.”
The possible applications for Blockchain technology could range from locking and opening car doors via an app. It could also allow the possibility of temporary access authorization to new business models through encrypted data logging.
Blockchain technology could improve driverless cars
Porsche has also said that blockchain technology could be applied in improving the safety and capabilities of driverless cars further.
The financial strategist for Porsche, Oliver Döring said, “We can use Blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking, or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle. We translate the innovative technology into direct benefits for the customer.”
According to Porsche, blockchain features could speed up the process of unlocking and locking the car with an app by 6 times. “This is made possible when the car becomes part of the Blockchain, making a direct offline connection possible, that is, without diversion through a server,” the company said.
Approaches at the moment would require an online connection. They would also require the alignment of the car’s data with its server-stored equivalent.
XAIN has started as a research project at the University of Oxford, aiming to boost blockchain technology applications through AI.
In June 2017, the company won the first Porsche Innovation Contest, finishing ahead of more than 120 other startups. XAIN’s technology stack is based on the Ethereum blockchain and reinforcement learning, which forms the modern family of machine-learning methods.
There is also a XAIN yellow paper providing detailed information on XAIN’s technology stack and solutions.
Other companies also testing blockchain
Other companies have also been experimenting with the application of blockchain technology. The supplier ZF, the bank UBS, and the software giant IBM have been working on a so-called "Car eWallet", which could enable secure transactions at charging stations as well as in multi-story car parks, and toll stations.
Last year, Toyota has announced their own partnership with MIT’s Media Lab, to look into different aspects of blockchain technology. Blockchain technology is the encrypted ledger technology behind popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Data gathered by cars, including useful data for navigation, can be encrypted locally in a distributed blockchain. Access to that data can then be sold to integrators and other drivers.
This data collection can provide autonomous self-driving cars with “swarm data” which has been gathered by other vehicles and analyzed with Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques such as machine learning.
Gathering and selling swarm data, which would most possibly include real-time road and traffic conditions, could be a viable business model entirely by itself.