BMW, Ford and General Motors steer towards blockchain tech to reinvent mobility industry

Major carmakers create the MOBI consortium to explore how Bitcoin supporting tech can be adopted in the automotive world

Automakers such as BMW, Ford, Groupe Renault and General Motors have come together to form a consortium that will explore how blockchain can reinvent mobility and address industry shifts.

Dubbed the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative or MOBI, the consortium will look at how blockchain can be used in a new digital mobility ecosystem that could make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible.

Chris Ballinger, chairman and CEO of MOBI, hopes to create a more open platform for users, owners, mobility service companies, and infrastructure providers to control and monetise their assets and data.

"Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles," said Ballinger.

"By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities."

Blockchain technology, which was originally developed for use with cryptocurrency, is a form of distributed public ledger, such as IBM's TrustChain. It operates by distributing information to a network of independent computers, ensuring that transactions are secure and data privacy, ownership rights, and integrity are protected.

Blockchain is now used for a wide range of different areas that demand the security of the technology with the flexibility of real-time updates; industries that change frequently, but where being virtually unhackable is vital, are the perfect sectors.

By working in a consortium, MOBI and its partners hope to create transparency and trust among users, prevent fraud, and reduce frictions and transaction costs in mobility, such as fees or surcharges applied by third-parties.

The initiative is actively working with companies who seek to foster an ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information.

Sophie Schmidtlin, Groupe Renault's alliance global director for advanced engineering, stressed the importance of working in an open ecosystem to asses the full potential of blockchain technology.

"Blockchain technology is by essence decentralised, and its full potential needs to be assessed by working in an open ecosystem," she said.

"This consortium will be a great opportunity to share and learn about the possibilities that can be opened by the distributed ledger technology, applied to the automotive ecosystem. Ultimately, we aim to work together to define future standards and use-cases that will make an easier everyday life for our customers."

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