Several automakers are set to trial crypto based automobile ID system.
Blockchain is a term that's been turning up a lot over the last year, mostly in connection with cyber currency. While that is one use, the over-simplified explanation of blockchain as a technology is that it's a decentralized way of filing and accessing information. Once a record has been added to a "chain", it's not easy to change and, as a result, is being used to underpin cyber-currencies like Bitcoin. Cyber currency isn't the only use for the blockchain system though, and that's why various automotive companies have banded together and are, according to Nikkei Asian Review, preparing to trial a vehicle ID system in the US shortly.
According to the report, Honda, Ford, General Motors, BMW, and Renault are forming a partnership aimed at testing a system that securely assigns digital IDs to individual vehicles that are linked to information such as ownership and service history. It can also allow in-car purchases to be made, so people driving a car like a Mustang with the super-snug Recaro seats should never have to struggle with getting their wallet out again.
The data could cover the vehicle for its lifetime that would help in both servicing and when it comes to buying and selling used cars. For owners, it could get rid of the need to carry tags and put stickers on cars for toll roads and parking as well as use the car to pay for other things as people go about their day.
Using the vehicle ID system, the cars are individually assigned a unique number. In theory, that means the system could add convenience to a car for the owner while protecting privacy and identity. According to Nikkei Asian Review, the testing will start next month here in the US.
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative that this system is being developed under is also being used by the auto industry to develop services linked to cyber currency. As well as obvious things like paying for tolls and electric vehicle charging, the system could be used to pay electric vehicle owners for feeding power back into the electric grid during power outages.