Blockchain

Toyota Research Institute exploring blockchain use in autonomous driving tech

(C) iStock.com/JackyLeung

The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) is collaborating with MIT Media Lab and other industry partners to see if distributed ledgers can accelerate the development of autonomous driving technology.

The project is looking to create an ecosystem that allows businesses and consumers to securely share driving and testing data for self-driving vehicles.

Utilising blockchain technology to manage ride-share transactions and store vehicle data for insurance purposes are also being looked at.

Blockchain offers a potential way to reduce the risk of fraud and reduce transaction costs such as third party institution fees.

TRI hopes to create a ‘user consortium’ through an open-source approach to software tools. Currently, other partners of the project include BigchainDB and Commurtez.

“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles. Blockchains and distributed ledgers may enable pooling data from vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers to shorten the time for reaching this goal, thereby bringing forward the safety, efficiency and convenience benefits of autonomous driving technology.”  – Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at TRI

Data sharing

Blockchain has the potential to allow companies and individuals to share and monetise their driving information. Others would then be able to access this contributed data in a secure way.

With modern vehicles collecting an ever-increasing amount of data about their environment through sensors and connection to the cloud, blockchain could create an environment that preserves data ownership will allowing it to be used.

Car/ride share transactions

Vehicle owners could potentially monetise their vehicles be selling rides, renting the vehicle or its cargo space. Blockchain could be used to store data usage, owner and insurance information, and smart contracts can be used to manage payments without the need for intermediaries.

Usage-based insurance

There are also applications for vehicle insurance, particularly in allowing drivers to reduce their premiums by allowing insurers to measure their safe driving habits.

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