Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Auto majors cooperate on vehicle blockchain

William Payne
October 17, 2019

BMW, Ford, GM, Groupe Renault, Honda, and other major automakers are working with the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) to develop a proof of concept (PoC) for a blockchain-based vehicle identity (VID). They have launched a joint initiative to test implementation of the first VID standard, which was released earlier this year.

Blockchain-based VID is designed to make it easier to associate vehicle payments directly to a vehicle rather than needing a payment account associated with a person or business. 

"The Vehicle Identity Standard is a critical enabler for future blockchain-based vehicle and mobility services. The multi-stakeholder Proof-of-Concept [will] foster the advancement of the standard and to explore its application," said Andre Luckow, Head of Distributed Ledger and Emerging Technologies at BMW Group.

Smart contracts can enable direct and low cost micropayments to and from multiple parties in response to detectable events. This will accelerate existing trends toward pay per use mobility and mobility as a service.

Vehicle digital identities also facilitate the creation of mobility networks, in which vehicles can communicate with each other and track movement: speed, location, direction of travel, braking, and even intention. Thus, blockchain and vehicle identity unlock safer road-sharing.

The release of the first VID standard is aimed at creating an ecosystem in which vehicles can securely identify themselves and communicate with other vehicles. 

"IEEE has been a leader in creating open standards for new and cutting edge technologies for 56 years. We look forward to working closely with MOBI to develop standards in areas of blockchain and mobility," said Remy Lyon, Chair, Los Angeles IEEE Blockchain Group.

Adoption of the VID standard by a large group of manufacturers and blockchain developers helps create a minimum viable community, bringing together automakers and start-ups to test and verify the VID within individual car systems. The VID will then be tested for coordinated vehicle communication within the MOBI ecosystem.

The MOBI community is currently recruiting more companies and infrastructure owners to develop and execute a comprehensive solution in accordance with the VID standard. Selected companies are able to work with other MOBI members to validate real-world applications of the VID with blockchain and DLT.

MOBI expects the PoC will give governments and transit operators new tools, in the near future, to reduce congestion and combat pollution, helping make mobility safer, greener and more affordable. 

A first demonstration of car wallets using the MOBI VID standard will be shown at the MOBI Colloquium in Los Angeles in November.

"Creating a trusted digital identity for a vehicle unlocks the potential for a mobility payments network, including: V2V/V2X transactions, electric vehicle to grid integration, usage-based services, fleet operations, congestion pricing, carbon footprint management, and more," said MOBI CEO Chris Ballinger. "We are delighted that a large segment of the industry is partnering with MOBI to build the foundation to prove existence, manage access control, confirm product definition and ownership history, and track events in the life of a vehicle."