Toyota, Industry Partners Explore Use of Blockchain Tech for Autonomous Vehicles

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Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a wholly owned unit of Toyota Motor North America, said Monday it is collaborating with MIT Media lab and several industry partners to explore blockchain and distributed ledger technology (BC/DL) for use in the development of a new mobility ecosystem that could accelerate development of autonomous driving technology.

The group will develop applications and proofs of concept for three areas of the new mobility ecosystem: driving/testing data sharing, car/ride share transactions and usage-based insurance, according to TRI.

This is to enable both businesses and consumers securely share driving and autonomous vehicle testing data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions and store vehicle usage information that could be used in the setting of insurance rates.

Blockchain technology sends information over a network of independent computers, known as a distributed ledger, intended to ensure that the transaction is secure and ownership rights over the data/property are protected.

“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer at TRI. “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.”