At Bosch ConnectedWorld 2017, an international conference held in Berlin, Germany, engineering and electronics company Bosch presented its vision of the future for self-driving vehicles. Bosch is working to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to the onboard computers of self-driving cars, as well as using blockchain technology to secure important vehicle data.
While the AI onboard computer isn’t set to go into production until the beginning of the next decade (at the latest), the team was able to present a live demonstration of securing data using blockchain technology.
Bosch collaborated with TÜV Rheinland, a German certification authority, similar to Underwriters Laboratories (the providers of the UL-listings seen on electronic devices) in the US. Together, they showed how a blockchain-based system could stop odometer fraud, which is apparently a huge issue in Europe (and certainly occurs stateside as well).
People illegally rolling back the odometers on their cars (the gauge which tracks a vehicle’s lifetime mileage) causes over € 6 billion in damage per year, in Germany alone. Selling a car that appears to have been driven fewer miles than it actually has can fetch a higher price but it also paints an incorrect picture of how much wear and tear a vehicle has experienced. This can lead to unexpected failure of integral components due to age or missed necessary maintenance and can have potentially fatal results.
By utilizing blockchain-based distributed ledgers, Bosch and TÜV created a system that uses an in-car connector to regularly send a vehicle’s mileage to its “digital logbook,” which is secured by strong cryptography (as is standard in the world of blockchains). Because of how a blockchain-based system stores data, the mileage is recorded in an unalterable way. So if a car is suspected of having its odometer tampered with, the mileage it’s displaying can be checked against the mileage it has recorded on Bosch’s system, via a smartphone app. A car owner could log their mileage on the blockchain and when they attempt to sell their vehicle, receive a certificate of accuracy from Bosch that confirms the veracity of their car’s mileage.
This is a great use case for blockchain technology, not only because it shows the power of distributed ledgers, but it also stands to protect consumers, save a lot of money, and maybe even save some lives.