Technological innovations are what drive various industries worldwide and these eventually benefit the billions of people working in various sectors, along with end users. In the automobile sector, deployment of new and emerging technologies is no new thing and it is in fact one of the industries to embrace such technologies at the earliest. From AI tech to usage of solar and greener fuel technologies, the automobile industry has always made headlines for adopting the latest technologies. So, it should not come as a surprise that this is one of the sectors that have warmed up to blockchain-a promising and disruptive technology-which is evolving rapidly.
Why use blockchain tech in automobile sector?
In the early days of blockchain, very few people had the knowledge or insight to realize its massive potential. In fact, a few years back, most people thought it is best used for developing cryptocurrencies and making anonymous, transactions which are not regulated by banks. However, the reality is that is only one of the many applications areas of blockchain tech! Owing to its decentralized nature and tempering proof working mechanism, blockchain can be adopted in many industries and automobile sector can also benefit in many ways from its adoption. The examples of sectors like education, banking and healthcare that have started using this tech are there for all to see.
The benefits of using blockchain in this sector are numerous and they include:
- Improved logistics operations
- Better inventory management
- enhanced automation of customer complaints and resolutions
- Better working relationships with third party vendors and parts suppliers though smart contracts
- enhanced customer data management, with focus on security by using encryption
- Long term operational cost reduction
- Improved customer data verification for car finance needs
- Better management of incentives and loyalty schemes
The early adoption of blockchain in car industry
As a matter of fact, a number of car companies, including the top ones, have already started experimenting with blockchain tech in different ways. They are also gearing up to use this in sync with other futuristic technologies.
Listed below are some of the car brands that have already started using blockchain tech in specific ways:
- Porsche– Luxury racing car maker Porsche which caters to a niche section of buyers, is one of the first movers in the industry to embrace blockchain tech. They declared a working alliance with Berlin-based Xain- a machine learning startup with the aim of testing blockchain applications in vehicles. Reportedly, Porsche made the move before the others could hop onto the bandwagon. Early tests showed promising results in remote locking and unlocking of cars.
- General Motors- General Motors is not saying away from blockchain either. It made news by filing a patent for managing autonomous car data through usage of blockchain. This planned system enables self-driving cars to use routenavigation information. It also invested in a blockchain startup named Spring Labs in a $23 million deal. It is for spearheading fraud prevention and identity verification.
- BMW– Luxury German origin carmaker BMW,has tied up with a blockchain platform named VeChain to offer chain management. The BMW Startup Garage program is being readied for unveiling. It will also offer VerifyCar- a car ownership passport based on VeChain.
- Volkswagen- Volkswagen is one of the brands that have never shied away from adopting emerging tech. It is working in alliance with IOTA. It has plans to augment the in car computers and their functioning with IOTA. The company wants to enhance the method of OTA car software upgrades. Volkswagen also announced Digital CarPass, another IOTA system to let the car owners assess vehicle performance.
- Mercedes Benz– The arch rival of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, has also realized the potential of this tech. It has come up with a unique blockchain initiative to augment its supply chain system. This will ensure its raw materials are acquired from sustainable as well as ethical sources. It also plans to deploy blockchain encryption to enhance supplier data confidentiality.
- Ford- Ford is among the first movers to use blockchain. It has plans to better manage the battery supply chain. It is now using the technology to make sure the cobalt used in its vehicle batteries are obtained from ethical providers. For this, Ford is resorting to 2 blockchain platforms, namely the Hyperledger Fabric and much touted IBM Blockchain platform.
- Toyota-Japanese carmaker Toyota was one of the early players in green and hybrid car tech and even in blockchain race it is not lagging behind the rivals! It started collaborating with the noted MIT Media Lab to create new era blockchain applications in 2017. They are setting focus on car-sharing transactions and sharing of data. They are also coming up with autonomous vehicle navigation.
- Honda– Honda and GM has started a joint venture in which the electric cars will be managed through blockchain tech for connecting to power grids. Both companies are investing in electric car tech and so this is a prudent move. They have plans to manage data for power usage through blockchain.
The MOBI Collective
A coalition formed by several car giants- MOBI stands for quality Open Blockchain Initiative. The members include the likes of General Motors, Renault, BMW, Ford and a number of top blockchain firms like Tezos, R3, VeChain, IOTA, Hyperledger. MOBI is aimed at launching blockchain standards targeting the entire auto industry-to ensure all the members obtain innovation related advantages.
What the future of blockchain in car industry looks like?
Experts are predicting that blockchain usage can kick charge operating mechanism in global car industry. Its integration of IOT with Block chain can pave the way for enhanced vehicle management. Crypto currencies aimed at the automobile sector can be created-which can be used to buy, sell, rent cars and even for fuel filling needs. Data sharing between various car sector related entities like insurance firms, used car sellers, third party spare makers and buyers will become more streamlined and access will be faster.
As of now, the Blockchain sector functions pretty much unregulated. The same perception about the technology also needs improvement and clarity. While many carmakers have started experimenting with the tech, many others, notably the smaller players are yet to embrace it. So, this means it will still take some more years before blockchain can be implemented in the automobile industry- in a global way.