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Blockchain-Based Mobility Services

“Contracts, transactions, and the records of them are among the defining structures in our economic, legal, and political systems. They protect assets and set organizational boundaries. They govern interactions among nations, organizations, communities, and individuals…And yet these critical tools and the bureaucracies formed to manage them have not kept up with the economy’s digital transformation. They’re like a rush-hour gridlock trapping a Formula 1 race car. In a digital world, the way we regulate and maintain administrative control has to change. Blockchain promises to solve this problem.” — Marco Iansiti and Karim R. Lakhani, Harvard Business Review

Blockchain. Mobility Services. Digital Transformation. Although discussions about these concepts are prevalent in a wide range of industries, some people may still be unaware of the full scope of changes we’re on the verge of undertaking in the way our communities and organizations manage transportation, business, and the increasingly-vital collection and usage of data.

Various levels of vehicle connectivity and automation systems are already commercially-available, while fully autonomous cars are expected to enter the market within the next two years. Some experts predict as many as 10 million self-driving cars on our roads by 2020 with the number of networked cars expanding by 30 percent annually over the next five years, while tech companies and auto industry specialists continue to develop radically-new solutions to better handle the ever-growing population and congestion challenges in our cities.

And this is just the beginning of what’s to come. Although urban mobility has been controlled historically by a select number of global giants in conjunction with local authorities, disruptive alternatives are popping up everywhere, such as peer-to-peer carsharing solutions, fixed monthly fee access to a range of automated public transportation options, and other Mobility as a Service (MaaS) concepts.

While this transportation evolution holds the promise of monumental strides forward, MaaS faces many significant challenges that must be solved before its full potential can be realized. For one, a major lack of transparency exists, with insufficient integration between a large percentage of service providers in some areas. Also, governmental support is unfortunately almost non-existent at this point, leading to additional complications. So, while MaaS may eventually be capable of providing the solution for many of our urban transportation problems, using it remains difficult.

As suggested in the Harvard Business Review quote at the beginning of this article, blockchain carries the potential to alleviate the inefficiencies, inaccuracies, and lack of transparency that can restrict progress in the incredibly complex world of transportation. Blockchain can provide the missing link between the various ecosystems that exist in smart cities, service providers, governments, and commuters.

DataArt’s recent proof-of-concept project, Porsche Blockchain Services Ecosystem (Porsche BSE), illuminates blockchain’s ability to manage all relevant data from the complete chain of vehicle goods and services providers. From manufacturing and repairs to insurance, gas, and parking, our solution offers a glimpse into the auto industry’s new direction, transforming the myriad of data silos into a single, elegant, and accurate system to benefit us all.

Written by Igor Ilunin, head of IoT at DataArt.

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