As of 2019, we have seen blockchain technology intersected with a large number of frontier industries, including distributed computing, artificial intelligence, personalized medicine, and even in the nascent legal marijuana industry. Now, it appears that blockchain is about to find itself incorporated into yet another soon-to-be booming industry — self-driving cars.
According to a recent patent filed by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), the company has designed a system whereby information gathered by self-driving vehicles can be ‘privatized and utilized’ using distributed ledger technology.
The filing states that the self-driving vehicle would be linked with a blockchain system which is used to record information relating to how the vehicle was operated within what is known as the ‘threshold distance’ — the distance within which the car is able to recognize and react to its surroundings.
This information would be accessible to other cars, which would, in turn, use this data to learn more about their surroundings. Much of the data recorded to the blockchain would be private, in that no personally identifiable information is attached to it, with only behavioral traits being recorded.
Drivers would apparently need to register for the service, while only cars that feature a similar system will be able to access the information, e.g. cars equipped with a Mobility Information Hub (MIH) — a device used to collect data from the vehicle sensors and upload it to the blockchain.
The system is also thought to have applications for drones, construction vehicles, underground mining vehicles and equipment, and autonomous flying vehicles.
But Isn’t Blockchain for Cryptocurrencies?
While it is true that blockchains are behind the great majority of cryptocurrencies, digital money systems are certainly not the only use-case for the technology. That being said, they are currently the largest and most well-known utility, with four of the five most popular blockchains being used primarily as digital money systems.
However, though it appears cryptocurrencies still have much more room for growth, many believe that the true potential for blockchain technology lies within smart-contracts. Further development could revolutionize the way business is performed, while decentralized applications could reshape the internet as we know it.
Nowadays, the value of the blockchain is being explored in dozens of different areas, with most major corporations dabbling with the technology. Several have even opted to design and launch blockchains of their own.
For example, the Amazon corporation has launched its own managed blockchain service and is actively investigating its value in supply chain management, while several banks, including JP Morgan, Bank of China and Wells Fargo are currently experimenting with banking use cases.
As time progresses, it is likely that blockchain will continue to weave its way into new industries, many of which will likely be changed for the better, others not-so-much.
Fast forward 10 years, what do you think will be the major use-case for blockchain technology and why? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!