OEMs, startups, tech companies and others form consortium to launch Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 11 May 2018


The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) sees founding members BMW, Bosch, Ford Motor, General Motors, Groupe Renault, ZF, Accenture, Context Labs, IBM, and others as part of the new consortium to explore how blockchain will reinvent mobility and address industry shifts.

The initiative will explore blockchain technology to be used in a new digital mobility ecosystem that aims to make transportation safer, affordable, and more widely accessible. MOBI is actively working with companies accounting for over 70 percent of global vehicle production in terms of market share. It aims to foster an ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information.

The blockchain technology operates by distributing information to a network of independent computers, ensuring that transactions are secure and data privacy, ownership rights, and integrity are protected. It states that working in a consortium allows MOBI and partners to create transparency and trust among users, reduce risk of fraud, reduce frictions and transaction costs in mobility, such as fees or surcharges applied by third-parties.

Chris Ballinger, former chief financial officer and director of Mobility Services at Toyota Research Institute, joins MOBI as chairman and CEO to coordinate the initiative and create a more open platform where users, owners, mobility service companies, and infrastructure providers can better control and monetise their assets, including their data.

“Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles. By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities,” said Ballinger.

Using an open-source approach to blockchain software tools and standards, the MOBI consortium expects to stimulate more rapid and scalable adoption of the technology by other companies developing autonomous vehicle and mobility services. It states that it is pleased to connect global mobility providers with blockchain innovators as well as government and non-government agencies, and institutions to collaborate on the development of blockchain-enabled vehicle data and mobility services applications.

MOBI claims its approach to ecosystem development is open and inclusive, wherein it invites stakeholders from across the entire mobility value chain to establish a ‘minimum viable network’. This includes automakers, public transportation and toll road providers and other forms of transportation, technology firms, blockchain firms, academic institutions, innovative startups and regulatory bodies across the globe.

Joining Chris Ballinger as co-founders and members of the initial Board of Directors are – Ashley Lannquist from Blockchain at Berkeley and David Luce; Dan Harple, CEO, Context Labs; Joseph Lubin, co-founder, Ethereum and founder, ConsenSys; Brian Behlendorf, executive director, Hyperledger; Jamie Burke, CEO, Outlier Ventures and Zaki Manian, executive director of the Trusted IoT Alliance.

Objective

- Initially Mobi will work towards

- Vehicle identity, history and data tracking

- Supply chain tracking, transparency, and efficiency

- Autonomous machine and vehicle payments

- Secure mobility ecosystem commerce

- Data markets for autonomous and human driving

- Car sharing and ride hailing

- Usage-based mobility pricing and payments for vehicles, insurance, energy, congestion, pollution and infrastructure, among others.

The consortium partners at present include – Accenture, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services USA, Beyond Protocol, BigchainDB, Blockchain at Berkeley, BMW, Bosch, Chronicled, ConsenSys Systems, Context Labs, Crypto Valley Association, Dashride, Deon Digital, Digital Twin Labs, DOVU, Fetch.ai, FOAM, Ford Motor, General Motors, Hyperledger, IBM, the IOTA Foundation, Luxoft, MotionWerk, NuCypher, Oaken Innovations, Ocean Protocol, Outlier Ventures, Groupe Renault, Ride Austin, Shareing, Shift, Spherical Analytics, the Trusted IoT Alliance, VeChain, Xain, and ZF Friedrichshafen.

Rich Strader, vice president, Mobility Product Solutions, Ford Motor, said: “We believe blockchain will transform the way people and businesses interact, creating new opportunities in mobility. We look forward to working together with our industry colleagues as part of MOBI to set the standards for the mobility ecosystem of tomorrow.”

Sophie Schmidtlin, Alliance Global Director for Advanced Engineering, Groupe Renault, said: “Blockchain technology is by essence decentralised, and its full potential needs to be assessed by working in an open ecosystem. That is why, it is natural for Groupe Renault to take part of the MOBI consortium. This consortium will be a great opportunity to share and learn about the possibilities that can be opened by the Distributed Ledger Technology, applied to the automotive ecosystem. Ultimately, we aim to work together to define future standards and use-cases that will make an easier everyday life for our customers.”

Peter Busch, Distributed Ledger Technologies Automotive, said: “Bosch is thrilled to be involved in this initiative to get nearer to its vision for a safer and more transparent connected future of the mobility industry!”

Arwed Niestroj, vice president, Global Innovation Hubs and Digital Transformation, ZF said: “As one of the world’s leading companies for automotive technologies, ZF is constantly pushing to make mobility more efficient and convenient. In taking part in the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, we can drive benefit for our customers by developing secure and efficient customer solutions for the future autonomous mobility.”

Sachin Lulla, vice president and partner, IBM Automotive Industry Leader, said: “A set of blockchain standards for the mobility industry will allow auto, infrastructure and service providers to efficiently communicate and transact with each other. Bringing the industry together and building interoperable blockchain networks is a key to help the automotive industry unleash the potential of blockchain. IBM is contributing our expertise in building blockchain consortia to the group to help accelerate development and ultimately benefit consumers."

Tedoro Lio, manging director and industrial and automotive innovation lead, Accenture, said: "From the handling of vehicle ID numbers and collision histories to the complex supply chains that lead to assembly lines and dealerships, blockchain offers new levels of data security and transparency. Industry leaders are just beginning to understand the unique characteristics of this technology and its diverse forms. This forum will help put them on the leading edge of blockchain’s possibilities to improve industry efficiencies, safety controls and the overall transportation experience."