Toyota Explores Blockchain for Driverless Cars

Announcements, Blockchain, Innovation | May 23, 2017 By:

Toyota is researching blockchain technology for the development of driverless cars.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a unit of Toyota Motor North America, has teamed with MIT Media Lab and five other firms to explore the use of blockchain technology in data transfers, the development of autonomous systems, and other cutting-edge applications.

Other partners include Berlin-based BigchainDB, which is building the data exchange for sharing driving and autonomous vehicle testing data; Oaken Innovations, based in Dallas and Toronto, is developing an application for P2P car sharing, vehicle access, and payments with a newly created mobility token; and Israel-based Commuterz, which is working with TRI on a P2P carpooling solution.

TRI said that the blockchain project for driverless cars would impact in three areas: data sharing, ride-sharing transactions, and user-based insurance.

TRI claims that the initiative will help businesses and consumers to securely share data on testing, driving and the sharing and usage of those cars in order to help in setting insurance rates. The company is also utilizing blockchain technology to lower car insurance costs.

By creating a consortium, TRI is hoping to stimulate more rapid adoption of blockchain by other companies developing autonomous vehicles and providing mobility services. The company is also inviting current and future partners to collaborate on further development of blockchain technology applications in vehicle data and services.

“I’m excited Toyota is spearheading this initiative that uses blockchain technology to create an open platform where users can control their driving data,” said Neha Narula, Director, Digital Currency Initiative at the MIT Media Lab. “Our hope is that other industry stakeholders will join this effort to bring safe and reliable autonomous vehicles one step closer to reality.”

“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said TRI mobility director and CFO Chris Ballinger. “Blockchains and distributed ledgers may enable pooling data from vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers to shorten the time for reaching this goal, thereby bringing forward the safety, efficiency and convenience benefits of autonomous driving technology.”