GM, Ford and BMW Join Forces For World’s Biggest Automotive Blockchain Consortium

automotive blockchain consortium GM Ford BMW

Four of the largest car manufacturers in the world have announced a collaboration to explore applications of blockchain technology in the automotive sector, in the biggest project of its kind to be announced so far.

General Motors, BMW and Ford are joined by Renault as founding members of MOBI, or the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. Joining them are a number of blockchain startups and tech-focused firms looking to develop applications for the automotive sector.

Parts manufacturers ZF and Bosch are also represented, as are the likes of IBM and Accenture. Other blockchain projects are also contributing to MOBI, including the Hyperledger consortium and Consensys.

The consortium brings together a broad range of companies from different sectors, including companies favoring a public blockchain and companies favoring private blockchain systems. It comes at a time of increasing innovation for blockchain technology in the automotive sector.

Last year, IBM and ZF teamed up to create a proof of concept car-based cryptocurrency wallet, while a group of major car manufacturers have already been exploring applications for in-car purchases and other blockchain initiatives.

MOBI CEO Chris Ballinger said that although several independent blockchain projects are under development, the industry requires cooperation and common standards to reach maximum utility.

“You really have to have common standards and common ways for cars to communicate, to identify themselves and make payments. ... But if each auto company is trying to develop its own car wallets or its own way of paying tolls, or providing a ride-sharing service, it just doesn’t work; it’s the Tower of Babel.”

MOBI’s members at launch account for as much as 70 percent of global car production, as well as drawing on the contributions of as many as 30 other members.

The automotive sector is one industry commonly tipped to benefit from the development of blockchain technologies.

From transactions to traffic management, from automatic and self-driving vehicles to driver registration and insurance, there are dozens of possible applications for blockchain systems within the sector.

MOBI, in bringing together various partners to collaborate on common standards, will no doubt now strive to make these a reality.