On July 25, 2017, century-old French automobile manufacturer Renault released details of its blockchain-based digital maintenance book. Developed in conjunction with Microsoft and consulting firm VISEO, the experimental platform streamlines information systems across diverse stakeholders, including automakers, insurers, repair shops, and drivers.
“This digital car maintenance book will enable us to provide our customers with new services in an ecosystem alongside insurers and dealers,” said Elie Elbaz, digital and connected vehicles director for Groupe Renault. “Blockchain technology is able to create a reliable trust protocol.”
As compared to other blockchain implementations, the utility of Renault’s system is fairly obvious. For example, automobile transactions may enjoy enhanced transparency as owners and dealers share vehicle history with potential buyers. It’s not hard to imagine other use cases. Perhaps, Renault’s blockchain could be used by insurance companies to set rates, or even by the French government to examine fuel economy. The government’s “guiding hand” in the French automobile industry has been identified before. In 2015, the state boosted its ownership in Renault to 20 percent in an effort to maintain voting power.
Elbaz also noted, “Beyond this project, this technology will be a major step forward for connected vehicles and the micro-transactions and security requirements associated with them.” In neighboring Germany, an Ethereum-based blockchain is already in use at charging stations for electric vehicles.
Renault’s partnership with Microsoft also demonstrates how the technology giant continues to make inroads with blockchain technology. Bernard Ourghanlian, chief technology officer of Microsoft France, had high praise for the company’s collaboration with Renault.
“As a continuation of our partnership in the realm of connected vehicles, we are pleased to be able to support Renault with its digital transformation and to work together to create an innovative Blockchain solution that has the potential to consolidate an entire vehicle ecosystem and ensure that the information shared by all can be trusted.”
In the race to become the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, Renault’s pioneering usage of blockchain technology could separate it from the pack.