The automotive industry has been focused primarily on the blockchain bandwagon, looking into potential options for use ad developing the infrastructure to use DLT (distributed-ledger technology) for transportation. Blockchain should be able to help the auto industry move into new revenue streams and manage their operations faster, though there are still many steps to go through before the technology can provide its broad benefits.
The primary issue is that DLT includes a variety of technologies and blockchain is just one of them. It is used to secure and store data files from multiple computers, ensuring that the records aren’t altered.
One of BMW’s IT department heads claims that DLTs can impact and disrupt the mobility and automotive value chain. It can fill the critical gaps in the technology landscape and help developers couple IT needs throughout many organizational needs. DLTs can also do much for business, ensuring that company owners can improve transparency, process efficiency, and more.
Many polls have been done showing that many people agree that DLT could be essential to the automotive world, just as it is with the medical and banking fields. While many think it could be beneficial, the technology is still so new and can change quickly.
Blockchain is still in its early stages, which means there is a lack of understanding, primarily from the OEM side. However, hopefuls believe that DLTs should be a significant force for the automotive world in just three short years. In fact, most companies don’t desire to develop blockchain platforms because they want openness and security. Therefore, they are for letting someone else do the developing and paying for the service when it is ready.
Potential applications for Blockchain include external and internal opportunities. These can include supply chain management, remote software updates, Internet-of-Things (IoT), vehicle tracking, vehicle verification, and enhanced loyalty programs. For example, BMW is focused on applications for long and short-term projects. They started looking into DLT in 2015 and started an organizational unit in 2018 to focus their efforts and build prototypes and pilots.
They are particularly interested in track-ability, traceability. Their goal is to track efficiency gains and trace everything so that they have full transparency. They are also looking into decentralized mobility ecosystems, though they know this is going to take more time for maturity.
Consulting companies believe that blockchain technology has many application opportunities, such as taking payments for parking, charging electric vehicle batteries, create new revenue streams, manage existing operations better, help with ride-sharing services, track user payments, track parts/components from creation to assembly, and much more.
While the research expands on how to use blockchain technology, efforts are also underway to provide widespread usage. Most agree that standards, best practices, and guidance are necessary to set the infrastructure for deployment on a broad spectrum.
One of the most significant challenges of implementation is that the right standards are used from the beginning. That way, companies are more willing to adopt the use of the technology and have interoperability and the ability to work with current data silo systems. Many automakers have already started working on issue resolution, such as BMW, Ford, Renault, General Motors, ZF and Bosch.
Blockchain technology is the wave of the future and can help everyone in the auto industry when it is complete and ready.