BMW, Ford, GM establish blockchain alliance to secure and monetise mobility data
A consortium of car makers and tech companies including BMW, Bosch, Ford, General Motors, Renault and IBM have joined together to explore how blockchain could enable businesses and consumers to better control and monetise their mobility assets, including their data.
The new group, called the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), said it will give car makers, mobility providers and drivers sovereignty over their data, and make management of ride-share transactions and vehicle data more simple and secure. The group aims to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between private enterprises and public agencies, to stimulate development and adoption of mobility services based on distributed ledger systems.
Initial work-streams cover ledger-based digital records and data analytics variously for vehicle identity and tracking, supply chain tracking, vehicle payments, usage pricing and payments, data security, data markets, congestion, pollution, infrastructure, and models for car sharing, ride hailing and insurance.
The group’s founding members, which also include start-ups and government agencies, claim to represent over 70 per cent of global vehicle production in terms of market share.
IBM vice president for automotive Sachin Lulla said: “A set of blockchain standards for the mobility industry will allow auto, infrastructure and service providers to efficiently communicate and transact with each other. Bringing the industry together and building interoperable blockchain networks is key to helping the automotive industry unleash the potential of blockchain.”
Ford Motor Corporation vice president of mobility solutions Rich Strader said: “Blockchain will transform the way people and businesses interact, creating new opportunities in mobility. We look forward to working together with our industry colleagues as part of MOBI to set the standards for the mobility ecosystem of tomorrow.”
Groupe Renault global director of advanced engineering Sophie Schmidtlin said the potential of the technology should be assessed by working in an open ecosystem. “This consortium will be a great opportunity to share and learn about the possibilities that can be opened by distributed ledger technology, applied to the automotive ecosystem.”
Chris Ballinger, formerly chief financial officer and director of mobility services at Toyota Research Institute, has joined as chairman and chief executive of the new group.
In Europe, the European Commission said last month the public sector will come to depend on blockchain technology, as it confirmed major cross-border deals on blockchain to address challenges of fragmentation and interoperability, and accelerate the launch of new digital services. The EC is sitting on a new €300 million fund for blockchain projects, it said.
Meanwhile, Spanish duo Telefónica and SEAT have recently announced they are testing blockchain-based supply-chain and manufacturing solutions for the automotive industry.