It is becoming clear that the fundamental concepts of car ownership, ridership and even the physical asset of the automobile itself are about to transform, particularly with the horizon of fully-autonomous vehicles now estimated to become a market reality in 2020.
This new universe will not only be one of more instrumented vehicles, but one that is a critical part of the distributed and data-driven ecosystem. Getting there will require what Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), termed “minimum viable partnerships.”
In this four-part series, “Driving The Future of Blockchains,” we will explore the automobile ecosystem at large and the role that these “minimum viable partnerships” might play in shaking up an industry that sees the future automobile as not just as another physical asset, but a machine driven by software, with intelligent sensors bringing data from physical endpoints to actionable and monetizable insights, turning a depreciating asset whose value plummets as soon as it’s driven off the dealership lot into a data-fueled profit center.
The future model of traditional cars, electric and autonomous, will be embedded with more sensors than ever before and able to capture data that make them more aware of external environmental factors and allow them to become “super-connected” intelligent devices.
These sensors will not only integrate with a driver’s other intelligent devices, but they will collect data about the car, navigation and external elements like weather and road conditions. This will make our cars their own computing machines, profound and far-reaching, as the data collected by them are exposed to analytics software to extract actionable insights.
This vision is precisely in line with blockchain technology, which truly lays the foundation for this future avalanche of data. It is precisely this data which is valuable for a broad ecosystem of stakeholders which begins with the driver and moves to the manufacturer and the insurer, interested not only in the state of the vehicle for safety, maintenance and insurance premium pricing, but for accident reporting and registration.
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