Toyota Explores Blockchain Technology for Self-Driving Cars
The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) announced at Consensus 2017 on Monday that it is exploring blockchain and distributed ledger technology for application in its future mobility ecosystem.
Blockchain is currently used primarily in cryptocurrency as a way to increase transaction speeds and security without involving bureaucrats or middlemen. However, it also has many potential applications outside of the financial sector that Toyota is seeking to exploit to accelerate its development of autonomous driving technology.
Most automakers are working to make self-driving cars connected to ride-sharing services. Using blockchain technology, Toyota could provide a secure conduit for everything involved in that driverless experience, from coordinating user payments and storing vehicle-use data for insurance companies. This would not only reduce the costs associated with using a third-party network but also increase security and transparency for the users.
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“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at TRI. “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.”
Toyota even says that individuals could financially benefit from blockchain, as it would allow them to monetize and share their driving data—a potentially valuable commodity for companies seeking insight into consumer preferences.
This is still all a long way off, but it’s good to know that Toyota is looking at the big picture of autonomous driving and not just at how to get the wheels moving.
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