GM and BMW are both looking to blockchain technology to solve the autonomous driving conundrum that has plagued car companies over the last few years. The problem with autonomous driving data is that it was all kept separate. Each and every single company had their own own data silos where they used their data exclusively.
Considering the fact that hundreds of billion miles of real-world driving need to take place for an AI to start learning properly, the challenge is getting enough data together while there are relatively fewer cars out there. That is BMW and GM are looking to create a system that will pool all the autonomous driving data they have gathered to try and reach this billion-mile figure as soon as possible.
The work being done under the auspices of the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative is looking to unlock the silos that companies who are working on autonomous driving keep hidden away. General Motors will chair the next workgroup of MOBI. The workgroup will focus on the so-called autonomous vehicle data markets. GM has clearly been looking to get into the business of vehicle data for quite a while. They patented a system for a fleet of self-driving cars at the tail end of 2018.
Micheal Filipowski, the chairman of the working group had this to say:
“I am excited to chair the AVDM working group and kickoff the development of our collaborative efforts with the other OEM [original equipment manufacturers] and supplier MOBI members.”
Clearly, things are moving in a positive direction. BMW, who is a founding member of MOBI, is expressing interest in this new field. This would be the first time they are looking to blockchain to share data, though they do have experience using blockchain in other ways. They previously used distributed ledger technology to keep track of the milage used in leased vehicles.
BMW's Andre Luckow told CoinDesk that keeping autonomous driving data in silos is stifling the industry as a whole. He says it is a major barrier to widespread adoption and change needs to happen. He further goes on to state that with blockchain technology maturing in interesting ways over the last year, the time has finally come to pool data from various innovators.
The key aspect is that blockchain can give everyone access to the data in a private way effectively. He heralds the coming autonomous age as relying on a key number of emerging technologies, all underpinned by blockchain. He cites decentralized machine learning, secure multi-party confidential computing, and decentralized data markets as the basis of a future where autonomous driving is ubiquitous.
The data that companies like Waymo, who is affiliated with Google, or Uber hold is looked at by the respective companies as their crown jewels. Something that no one else should ever get for any reason. However, experts from the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Innovation Lab say that this is not the case.
That thinking should stay in the past, and decentralized, secure and private data marketplaces were the future. Blockchain was a key driver for this. It would allow the transfer of data under clear guidelines for use.
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