GM, Ford, BMW Launch Consortium To Explore ‘How Blockchain Will Reinvent Mobility’

Several large automakers, tech companies, and other firms have unveiled a foundation known as the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. The group will seek to engage a wide range of stakeholders as it contributes to the development of transportation solutions.

On May 2, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) was unveiled by several member organizations, including BMW, General Motors, and Ford.

The non-profit foundation will work to devise and promote standards for integrating blockchain technology into automotive travel and will employ an “open source approach” as it pursues transportation solutions.

Though it already boasts over 30 member organizations, the group is also seeking the participation of other “automakers, public transportation and toll road providers … technology firms, blockchain firms, academic institutions, startup innovators, and regulatory bodies across the globe.” By working together, MOBI hopes, these stakeholders can transform the ways in which “consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles.”

One of the consortium’s focuses will be data sovereignty. With more network-connected sensors finding their way into cars these days, drivers are generating an unprecedented volume of digital data related to everything from the tolls they pay to the routes they prefer. According to the foundation’s initial press release, it will foster the development of solutions that will give commuters (be they vehicle owners or ride-sharing passengers) control over data that pertain to them.

The organization also aims to contribute to the creation of a system or set of systems that would allow people to automatically pay for the use of both ride-sharing and car-sharing vehicles; for the insurance policies covering those vehicles; for the energy that those vehicles consume and the pollutants that they emit during a trip; and for traffic that the commuter contributes to by traveling during peak hours.

MOBI “hopes” that its work will pave the way for “more rapid and scalable adoption of [blockchain] technology by other companies developing autonomous [i.e., self-driving] vehicle and mobility services.”

Other consortium goals include securely storing “vehicle identity and usage information,” tracking items through supply chains, and helping to design markets where driving-related data can be bought and sold.

As the press release put it:

“MOBI and our partners are creating simple, standard and digital ways of identifying cars, people, and trips, of paying for mobility services, and securely exchanging and monetizing data in ways that preserve property rights and privacy.”

The foundation, which is “actively working with companies accounting for over 70% of global vehicle production in terms of market share,” currently counts among its members: Accenture, BigchainDB, Blockchain at Berkeley, Bosch, ConsenSys Systems, Context Labs, Crypto Valley Association, FOAM, General Motors, Hyperledger, IBM, the IOTA Foundation, Groupe Renault, Ride Austin, the Trusted IoT Alliance, and VeChain.

Adam Reese is a Los Angeles-based writer interested in technology, domestic and international politics, social issues, infrastructure and the arts. Adam is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether, Bitcoin, and Monero.

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