Porsche just announced it is the first automaker to successfully implement blockchain technology in its vehicles. The milestone is the result of a pilot program designed to test the benefits of this growing technology.
Porsche, the high-end automaker based in Stuttgart, set a new sales record in 2016 with 237,778 cars sold worldwide. A subsidiary of Volkswagen, which sold approximately 10.4 million vehicles in 2016, Porsche is partnering with Ethereum-based startup Xain, winner of the first Porsche Innovation Contest. The Berlin-based startup beat out more than 100 other applicants for the top prize.
In a statement, Porsche outlines a huge number of applications blockchain technology could provide the auto industry. Here are just a few of the possibilities the company is exploring:
1. Secure Access to Your Vehicle
“Transactions based on this technology are both secure and can be processed far more quickly than anything that has come before. The applications tested include locking and unlocking the vehicle via an app, temporary access authorisations and new business models based on encrypted data logging. This could be developed further, for example, to improve autonomous driving functions.”
…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.”
2. Faster Data Transfers and Improved Security
“The services developed on the foundation of blockchain are fast and very secure. The car becomes part of the blockchain, making a direct offline connection possible – that is, without diversion through a server. Taking 1.6 seconds, the process of opening and closing the car via an app is up to six times faster than before. In addition, efficient cryptographic encryption takes place. This process ensures that all activities are documented in the blockchain in a way that prevents them from being modified, and can be viewed using an app. For example, access authorisations can be distributed digitally and securely and can be monitored by the vehicle owner at any time. Access also works remotely.”
3. Autonomous Driving and Transparent Data
“Porsche is also working on new business models based on blockchain: Through auditable data logging, the data to be processed is encrypted locally in a distributed blockchain. The user is in control of the data, deciding how to use it depending on the situation. All activities are documented in the blockchain, making deletions transparent. With this basis, the future of autonomous driving will see improved functions on offer: Local data can be used to obtain regional learning effects, which can be shared securely with other vehicles. The customer can make use of swarm data, which is protected at the same time.”
So far, Tesla has not made any announcements indicating it will explore the potential benefits of the blockchain technology.
Elon Musk recently revealed how much cryptocurrency he holds on Twitter, leaving blockchain enthusiasts with a lot to be desired.
Not sure. I let @jack know, but it’s still going. I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 22, 2018
If the tweet is any sign of Elon’s interest in the emerging technology, it may be a while before Tesla catches up to Porsche’s lead.