The arrival of innovative automotive startups such as Uber and Lyft are prompting huge paradigm shifts in how people move around places globally. To begin with, ride sharing services are causing people to rethink the idea of car ownership – an effective ride-hailing service can provide you with a car on-demand without the additional hassles of car ownership such as maintenance, fuel costs, and insurance. In fact, many people posit that car ownership may no longer be a good deal in the next couple of years as technology continues to facilitate social change.
Interestingly, blockchain technology has positioned itself as an innovative solution that could facilitate faster mass-market adoption of mobility services. For one, users can be certain that their personal information and travel history goes with them into every new car they enter, that includes their preferences so that any car can feel personalized to their needs. This piece provides practical insights into how Blockchain technology could facilitate the rapid growth of a vibrant ride-hailing and ride-sharing economy.
Revving for disruption
Blockchain technology provides a decentralized platform for storing and sharing data in a secured, immutable, and transparent environment. Blockchain technology could potentially make mobility services safer, affordable, readily accessible, and decentralized. The move mirrors Uber’s own diffusion of the top-down taxi industry.
The premise of a blockchain transportation program is gaining traction among a consortium of more than 30 automobile and tech companies including Ford, GM , BMW, Faraday Future, and DashRide. Together they have founded the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) as part of efforts to leverage Blockchain technology to fix data tracking, payments, supply management, data tracking, and consumer finance including emerging tech such as self-driving cars.
The presence of Blockchain platforms such as IOTW and DAV is already laying the groundwork for building mobility-as-a-service using Blockchain technology. IOTW believes that the IoT industry could experience faster mass-market adoption if users are incentivized to participate in secure data marketplaces. The firm is introducing a completely new architecture with an innovative consensus protocol called Proof of Assignment. IOTW’s protocol allows IoT devices, no matter how simple they are, to connect to an IoT network and mine IOTW coins with a simple firmware upgrade. In return, the device owners are rewarded with IOTW coins that they use to buy other data streams, services, parts, or redeem on the open market.
IOTW are using PoA as a new standard to IOT/blockchain consensus – looking to dethrone IOTA as the market leader in IOT/blockchain integration – as IOTA’s tangle seems less feasible.
Leveraging blockchain solutions such as IOTW in the emerging mobility economy could enhance the rapid integration of cars into the IoT economy. For one, the cars can transmit data on traffic conditions, occupancy rates, mass traffic flow, and individual travel patterns. The cars could also leverage the reward system to pay for fuel, oil changes, repairs, or charging credits in electric cars.
DAV is working on a blockchain-based transportation protocol that will facilitate a decentralized peer-to-peer global transportation system. With DAV, people can participate in a decentralized transportation network or put their regular or self-driving cars on the network to disrupt the way people move from one location to another. DAV’s network allows drivers and passengers to communicate on a decentralized platform without any middleman in between. DAV is also looking to grow its network to accommodate autonomous ride sharing, autonomous drone deliveries, and autonomous careers.
Vertical stakeholders that would benefit from blockchain in mobility
Automobile manufacturers - Automobile manufacturers are gradually shifting to the development of electric vehicles (EVs) and self-driving cars. The popularity of Tesla Inc. TSLA has shown that consumers are hungry for disruption in the automobile industry, and traditional automakers don’t want to be left in the rear-view mirror. However, Tesla has been facing increasing criticism about how it collect user data on its cars and on what it does with the data. There are also fears about how quickly things could go wrong if hackers succeed in breaking into self-driving cars and controlling such vehicles remotely.
The decentralization that Blockchain technology provides ensures the firm doesn’t own, store, or control the data; hence, users would be less skeptical about buying semi or fully autonomous cars. More so, the encrypted security of Blockchain technology could allay fears about the odds that autonomous cars could be compromised and instructed to go rogue.
Ride hailing services - One of the challenges that ride hailing platforms face is proving that they are committed to protecting users and drivers, as much as their personal information and data. Both passengers and drivers need to store their personal information on someone’s database. Every time you use a ride hailing service, company stores the log of your trip. One can’t begin to imagine how such data could be mined to target you with ads or for other sinister motives.
Storing personal and travel information on a blockchain can put drivers and passengers in control of their data and they can they choose to share such data on their own volition. In addition, storing the data on a blockchain also eliminates the risk that such data could be unscrupulously mined.
Insurance companies - Leveraging blockchain technology in mobility could help insurance companies effectively offer parametric insurance using IoT data sets securely stored on the Blockchain. For instance, if car ownership fades out, drivers would like to be able to buy parametric insurance that only covers then when they are driving since they only need insurance when they are behind the wheels. The fact that driving history is also stored on the blockchain makes it to personalize the calculating of premiums based on the kind of risks that drivers pose behind the wheels.
In addition, self-driving cars could become independent entities that pay insurance premiums through the ride-hailing revenue they generate. IoT layered on Blockchain can also be used to purchase insurance for the duration of time you are in a journey, cancelled trips, or unforeseen mishaps.
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