Analysis of Blockchain Technology in the Mobility Sector

Table 1: Criteria for the evaluation of blockchain suitability
Table 2: Characteristics for the categorization of the use cases
Figure 1: Example use case analysis

Blockchain use case: car-wallet and payments

With an integrated Wallet-App, cars are enabled to make payments on their own. With blockchain, payments concerning every aspect of the car’s mobility can be executed fast, secure and automatically. Especially regarding coming car generations with advanced autonomous functions, the automation of payments and their integration into the vehicle gains more and more importance.

Figure 2: Use case analysis car-wallet and payments

Blockchain use case: smart insurance

A vehicle black box enables the exact documentation of the vehicle status. Blockchain technology enables the unmanipulable and transparent logging of the vehicles’ sensor data in a decentralized network. With regard to coming autonomous vehicles, this unimpeachable documentation of a blockchain black box could help to resolve the circumstances of an accident. In theory, blockchain technology could enable insurances to be unbound to the vehicle due to the logging of sensor data. The insurance could be taken along into other vehicles like a user profile, for example in carsharing.

Figure 3: Use case analysis smart insurance

Blockchain use case: self-owning car

The concept of the self-owning car was introduced by Mike Hearn, a Google employee, in 2013. As a self-owning car, the vehicle represents an own financial entity. Besides natural persons, only corporate entities are able to close a deal. One reason for this circumstance is the missing trust between the parties. Natural persons, as well as corporate entities, are liable and tangible, which machines are not. This missing trust can be replaced with blockchain technology. The vehicle has due to blockchain technology its own accounting identity and with enough artificial intelligence, it becomes an autonomous entity. Under certain circumstances, the vehicle is able to earn and spend money. A human decision maker is becoming redundant due to the implementation of artificial intelligence. Revenues can be achieved with carsharing, expenses emerge by repairs or charging. The advantage for the customer is the omission of the payment and accounting process, especially in corporate fleets. The vehicle itself can publish a detailed record of all transactions at the end of the month, bills are being paid instantly.

Figure 4: Use case analysis: self-owning car

More promising blockchain use cases in the mobility sector

Digital twin. The recording of data of components in a decentralized database offers the possibility to ensure congruence between data of assets in the real world and those in the database and therefore creating a digital twin. Recorded data could include manufacturer, seller but also the mechanic’s name or real-time data about the components status. This way a transparent and secure proof of origin could be created on this open blockchain ecosystem.

Challenges of blockchain technology

On its way to mature products and services, blockchain technology is facing a lot of challenges. In the following tables 3, 4 and 5 some of those challenges are presented from the technical, economic and regulatory point of view.

Table 3: Technical challenges of blockchain technology
Table 4: Economic challenges of blockchain technology
Table 5: Societal and regulatory challenges of blockchain technology

Conclusion

With blockchain technology, even the smallest transactions can be executed at minimum costs. As a result, business models with a strong dependence on transaction costs, like the inductive charging at traffic lights, are becoming feasible. Blockchain technology encourages the building of ecosystems with many participants, who share similar interests but don’t trust each other because of the competition in the market. The shared blockchain ecosystem enables the cooperation of all parties and therefore leads to increasing efficiencies. Such an ecosystem might be used as a platform form charging stations, making entry barriers such as customer cards and accounts redundant[ix].

Remarks

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  • Blockchain knowledge: We wrote a Medium article on how to acquire the necessary blockchain knowledge within a workload of 10 working days.
  • Our two blockchain books: We have edited two books on how blockchain will change our society (Amazon link) in general and the everything related to finance (Amazon link) in particular. Both books are available in print and for Kindle — currently in German and soon in English. The authors have been more than 20 well-known blockchain experts in startups, corporations and the government from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein — all contributing their expertise to these two books.
Our two books: the first one on blockchain and the society and the second one on blockchain and finance

Authors

Martin Gösele is blockchain enthusiast and Alumni of the Technical University Munich. You can contact him via mail (martin.goesele@gmx.de) and XING (https://www.xing.com/profile/Martin_Goesele2) or connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/martingoesele).

Endnotes

[i] See https://car-ewallet.zf.com.

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Philipp Sandner

Philipp Sandner

Professor | Lecturer | Author | Investor | Frankfurt School Blockchain Center