The world’s largest car manufacturers have announced forming the biggest-ever consortium Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) focused on applying blockchain tech in the automotive sector. BMW, General Motors, Ford and Renault have combined efforts to explore the potential of the blockchain in the automotive and mobility space.
— MOBI (@MOBI_Connect) May 2, 2018
Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative is a consortium aimed at finding and developing automotive uses for blockchain technology. The group’s broad goal is making transportation “safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible using blockchain technology.”
According to MOBI, its scope of focus varies from payments, data tracking, and supply management, to consumer finance and pricing, and more futuristic areas like autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing systems.
The consortium will work to ensure blockchain-based services can be easily reconcilable with vehicles from multiple brands in order to avoid a situation in which a car can’t transact with a system it’s not compatible with. It also will host educational seminars for members.
MOBI has over 30 founding members that include Bosch, Blockchain at Berkeley, Hyperledger, Fetch.ai, IBM, IOTA, and ZF Friedrichshafen. The group is headed by Chris Ballinger, former CFO and director of mobility services at the Toyota Research Institute.
Blockchain is “a technology where the network effects will be very strong,” Ballinger said. “Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles. If you’re not in at the very start, it may be too late.”
Members of the organization’s board also include Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and a co-founder of Ethereum, and Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger.
There could be many practical uses for blockchain in the automotive industry, for example, allowing consumers to pay for tolls and electric vehicle charging stations and creating public records that track vehicles and parts in the supply chain. And MOBI as not the pioneer in applying blockchain technology in this branch of industry.
Toyota is already doing its own research, Renault has joined the R3 research consortium, and Daimler is part of the Hyperledger project from the Linux Foundation. However, MOBI is focusing entirely on the automotive space and potential uses of blockchain rather than automotive as one of a number of industries.
“By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities,” said Chris Ballinger.