Toyota is testing blockchain and distributed ledger technology (BC/DL) for data sharing for driverless cars and other applications. This could eventually reassure buyers of its upcoming high-end cars by making sure their sensitive data is secure.
As vehicles modernize, they become increasingly more aware of their environments through onboard sensors that connect to the cloud. This data accumulates and with BC/DL, there is a solution to the risk that comes along with all this accumulated, sensitive user data.
Blockchain sends out information over an encrypted network of independent computers to ensure data is protected. Now, Toyota is collaborating with MIT Media Lab to start up a digital network for both consumers and businesses to share autonomous vehicle testing data. The network would allow you to store, access, and share your data in an environment that would preserve your ownership over your information.
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.
Yes, maybe it is a risk for Toyota to pool all its user data from your driverless car into one network that would allow other companies to access that information and possibly further monetize on it. Although, Ballinger has a point. Pooling all this information into one secure network would give Toyota the upper hand when it comes to ensuring that its autonomous vehicles are safe and reliable based on its user data.
The more user data an autonomous care can store and access about driving behavior, the less likely an accident may occur.
Not only that, but blockchain also ensures security of user data and accelerates the development of Toyota's autonomous driving technology giving it the potential to, as Toyota states in its press release, "empower vehicle owners to monetize their asset by selling rides, cargo space or even the use of the vehicle itself."
BC/DL will store data about your vehicle's usage, you, and your passengers:
This profile information can help validate a "smart contract" between two parties plus manage payment of services between them without need of a financial intermediary, thereby saving transaction surcharges.
It also may lower your insurance rate. The more data your car's sensor collects and stores in a blockchain, the more information you have to leverage against your insurance company.
With blockchain, you will be able to provide increased transparency to your insurance company by granting them access to your driving data. This would allow your insurance to measure your driving habits, which could be a great thing or possibly, a really really bad thing.
I'm excited Toyota is spearheading this initiative that uses blockchain technology to create an open platform where users can control their driving data. Our hope is that other industry stakeholders will join this effort to bring safe and reliable autonomous vehicles one step closer to reality.