The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) has added 86 new members with one in particular standing out because of what may be a significant development in an interesting area where the blockchain could find everyday use.
Toyota, the global car manufacturers which manages some $260 billion of yearly revenue, has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance to see if they can give their cars smart contracts functionalities. Chris Ballinger, CFO & Director of Mobility Services, Toyota Research Institute, stated:
“Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers are disruptive technologies with the potential to positively impact future mobility by accelerating the development of autonomous driving, lowering costs to consumers, and making more efficient use of the existing mobility infrastructure.”
This is just weeks after Innogy, a subsidiary of Germany’s energy giant RWE, announced they had connected hundreds of charging stations for electric cars to ethereum’s public blockchain with the greater vision being for cars to automatically pay the charging station.
That may be some way off because this is the first we hear from car manufacturers regarding blockchain technology. Suggesting they may be at the early conceptual and research stage with potentially tests and pilots following.
There’s no sign of Tesla anywhere yet, but they are already so innovative they might be far too busy, giving an opening to potential competitors which may gain an advantage by incorporating blockchain tech because it’s just cool.
Who wouldn’t want to show off to their friends by giving them a taste of the future and letting them see the car by itself pay for things while you both just sit back? Who would choose what may become analogue cars over the blockchenized one which, with self-driving capabilities, can just go off by itself and work for you while not in use?
For that, it needs the ability to receive and make payments, something which smart contracts can provide as they allow things to in effect have a bank account which cannot be tampered with or stolen because it’s not held in the car and doesn’t require any input as it obeys the code stored in thousands of computers.
So we might eventually hear from more car manufactures as innovation now ups a gear due to the sudden cheap availability of numerous digital components, such as wireless tech, sensors, data analytics, artificial intelligence, smart contracts and blockchain tech.
In combination they promise to make everything faster, cheaper, more efficient and just better to a scale and extent some have called an up-coming fourth industrial revolution.
Correction: This article has been updated to correct previously mistaken reporting which stated the car giant, Mitsubishi, had joined the alliance. It’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, a Japanese bank which holds assets of around US$2.459 trillion, making it world’s fourth largest bank by total assets, that joined the alliance. Not Mitsubishi Motors.