Yes, you’ve read it right. The world’s largest automobile makers (with 70 percent market share) are joining hands with a leading technology group for a blockchain initiative. The group, named as Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (Mobi) was announced in Dubai at the Future Blockchain Summit, on Thursday.
BMW, General Motors, Renault and Ford are among the 30 companies in the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. On the technology side, the group includes big names like IBM, Accenture, Ethereum, Blockchain at Berkeley, and Luxoft.
According to the group’s press release, it was designed to “explore blockchain for use in a new digital mobility ecosystem that could make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible. An ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information.”
The initiative (Mobi) aims to speed up the adoption of blockchain – the very technology that powers bitcoin – with variety of use cases, ranging from ride-sharing to payments. The working group is led by Chris Ballinger, a car industry veteran who had multiple leading roles within auto industry – more recent as CFO and Director of Mobility Services at Toyota Research Institute.
“Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles,” said Ballinger. “By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities.”
“The announcement is a giant shift in the both – technology as well as auto industries, and has the potential to disrupt the growth plans of legacy tech into the auto industry,” CNBC quoted Brian Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM. According to him, the most important part of MOBI deals with data – as they will be trying to define the process of self-governance, giving consumers better control over their data properties.
While expert opinions differ on the key trigger, a number of factors are being credited to this development, the foremost being the trend. In addition, due to the growing popularity of electric car startups and software companies aiming to disrupt the industry with various products (like ride-sharing and self-driving), carmakers have realized to join hands in order to ensure they do not lose the battle of the trending products and services in demand.
Connected and autonomous cars are the future – as we already see tech giants Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon moving closely in the business. As a result, there is big (projected) demand for products (read cars) that could not only accommodate technologies like voice assistants but also cater faster, secure, and transparent transactions.
How blockchain will be used?
With the mission of “using blockchain and related technologies to make mobility safer, greener, and more affordable,” MOBI aims to focus on the entire value chain of the mobility service with initial focus on the following.
- Vehicle identity, history and data tracking
- Supply chain tracking, transparency, and efficiency
- Autonomous machine and vehicle payments
- Secure mobility ecosystem commerce
- Data markets for autonomous and human driving
- Car sharing and ride hailing
- Usage-based mobility pricing and payments for vehicles, insurance, energy, congestion, pollution, infrastructure, etc.