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Porsche tests blockchain applications in vehicles

Luxury car giant Porsche, in collaboration with Berlin-based start-up XAIN, is testing the application of blockchain technology directly in vehicles.

XAIN won Porsche’s first innovation contest on blockchain technology in June 2017. Porsche announced at that time that its active collaboration with the startup will commence in August 2017 with a three-month pilot phase which will focus on developing a concrete prototype of a blockchain-based application.

In its media release dated February 22, Porsche said that the blockchain applications being tested include locking and unlocking the vehicle via an app, temporary access authorisations and new business models based on encrypted data logging. This could be developed further to improve autonomous driving functions, it said.

“We can use blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle. We translate the innovative technology into direct benefits for the customer,” Oliver Döring, Financial Strategist at Porsche, said.

Blockchain technology makes a direct offline connection possible without diversion through a server, Porsche explained. The process of opening and closing the car via an app is up to six times faster than before – taking just 1.6 seconds. In addition, cryptographic encryption ensures that all activities are documented in the blockchain in a tamper-proof way and can be viewed using an app.

Furthermore, blockchain technology allows assigning temporary access authorisations for the vehicle in a secure and efficient manner, Porsche added. It helps to establish a protected connection to vehicle data and functionalities, while protecting all communication between participants. By using smart contracts, third-party providers can be integrated without the need for additional hardware.

Porsche also announced that it is working on a new blockchain-based business model in which it will use blockchain to process data. It explained:

“The user is in control of the data, deciding how to use it depending on the situation. All activities are documented in the blockchain, making deletions transparent. With this basis, the future of autonomous driving will see improved functions on offer: Local data can be used to obtain regional learning effects, which can be shared securely with other vehicles. The customer can make use of swarm data, which is protected at the same time.”

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