How blockchain may underpin your future fleet

It might sound fanciful, but it’s true: blockchain technology may well underpin your fleet and your future mobility requirements.

Now, don’t back because this sounds too technical. Because as you know, me and technology are not always the best bedfellows. So let me explain.

Blockchain is essentially a highly secure form of ledgers – blocks of information – that are securely recorded with a timestamp.

And while blockchain is critical in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, it does have much wider applications. (And not just in the dark web I hasten to add.)

For example, automotive technology supplier ZF has already produced a product called Car eWallet. Now, ZF describes this as an open automotive transaction platform that can be used for mobility-related services.

It’s currently under development with heavyweights UBS and IBM – so it looks a serious play.

Car eWallet can make and accept payments easily and safely while drivers are on the go. For example, charging up an electric vehicle.

ZF is also investigating its potential in autonomously driven vehicles which will need to make on-the-go payments themselves.

The beauty of Car eWallet, though, lies in the fact that is based on IBM blockchain technology.  This makes it possible to synchronize the information of each user in a network in a reliable and unchangeable data record. At the same time, it ensures that users only have access to the information that they are permitted to see and use.

Clever, eh?

So you can start to see how blockchain technology can play a part in future fleet. Partly because it allows for portional management of assets. So, your pool car could be shared with a number of other companies – and blockchain technology would record time of use and the amount to be charged to your fleet’s mobility account. Securely. With a time stamp.

Indeed, ZF is one of the founding partners of something called MOBI – or Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative – that was formed in the first week of May at the Future Blockchain Summit, held in Dubai.

It’s a serious operation. BMW, Ford, General Motors, Groupe Renault and Bosch are all involved.

The aim of MOBI is to encourage the development of an ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, particularly in areas such as managing ride share and car sharing.

It makes for a fascinating glimpse of how fleet mobility will work in the future.

Ford’s VP of Mobility Product Solutions reckons that “blockchain will transform the way people and businesses interact, creating new opportunities in mobility.” Who am I to disagree.

It’s a glimpse of fleet’s future – and I like it.