Six Applications for Blockchain in the Automotive Industry…

Posted on January 20, 2018

Since the advent of cars, the automotive industry has always embraced technological advances, but the pace of change has accelerated so rapidly that auto original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) worldwide are struggling to keep up. It is not just connected cars, or even autonomous cars that manufacturers are racing to [safely] bring to market; it is not just 5G connectivity shifting narratives around smart city interactions or in-car experiences; it is not just car-sharing and new business models with which they are experimenting; and it is not just artificial intelligence (AI) or computer vision for which they are recruiting talent. Automotive manufacturers are now facing another potentially transformational technology: blockchain.blockchain, automotive, smart car, auto title transfers,

Tractica defines blockchain as a series of technologies that enable distributed database architecture, wherein the record and verification of a transaction or event relies on multiple parties agreeing on the validity of that transaction, rather than relying on a single centralized authority.

Although blockchain has been subject to more hype than actual in-production, at-scale applications, the technology has undergone rapid developmental steps in the last 3 years. Blockchain technologies offer auto manufacturers, as well as numerous other constituencies across the automotive ecosystem, a range of potential benefits. In fact, blockchain may serve as a key enabler for autonomous cars because it has the potential to facilitate commerce between cars and other devices in scalable architectures and ensure repeatable outcomes/expectations. This is required to: 1) establish value and 2) define trust between stakeholders and machines, both of which are limited in the Internet of Things (IoT) as it exists today.

Tractica’s research identifies 30 distinct use case categories, across virtually every industry. Below are a few of the use cases Tractica has identified for companies in the automotive sector to extract value from ledgers distributed and shared among one another.

Automotive/Internet of Things Interactions

A future of autonomous cars, not to mention “millions or billions” of devices communicating with each other efficiently requires that their interactions and transactions exist on an immutable database of shared, secure, and highly permissioned access. As one example, a shared ledger between automotive OEMs, parts distributors, dealerships, service mechanics, insurance providers, and others could support the ability for parts or equipment within a car to autonomously sense its own needs. For instance, a car could advise the driver about the need for repair, contact remote users for updates or nearby suppliers for replacement parts, negotiate pricing and appointments for service and repairs, authenticate the proper technician, and process the respective payment for services.

An early example of blockchain supporting transparency across the above interactions was recently announced by Renault. The French automaker is piloting a digitized car maintenance program, which uses blockchain as a shared ledger to log all car repair and maintenance history in one place. The next pilot, it says, will focus on vehicle-based microtransactions – essential to integrating the IoT with the exchange of value.

Oaken Innovation recently demonstrated the idea of a blockchain-enabled tollbooth, in which Tesla cars automatically pay as they pass through toll booths, as both nodes (car and tollbooth) have ethereum nodes, which use smart contracts to trigger a machine-to-machine (M2M) transaction.

Auto Financing

Whether an individual, institution, or dealer, few can afford to purchase cars outright; instead, purchasing cars typically requires loans to finance the transaction. Although financing varies somewhat by the nature of the transaction, typical auto financing includes a host of verification steps to which blockchain could be applied for efficiency gains: customer bank validation along multiple phases of transaction setup and execution (in compliance with know your customer [KYC] and anti-money laundering [AML] regulations); issuing letters of credit; review of multiple documents sourced from different locations; investigating actors’ legal structures; scoring and classifying risk; archiving of reviewed documents; etc. In the spring of 2017, Indian automotive OEM Mahindra, created a blockchain incubator focused specifically on the automotive financing use case.

Automotive Title Transfer

The process of transferring ownership from buyer to seller of an asset – a car or other form of property – is one that requires numerous middlemen, phases, and reconciliations to execute. Property records and the “chain of title,” which include leases, titles of ownership, encumbrances, etc., are usually stored in title plants at the county level, which must be maintained and require significant labor resources (thus, higher fees) to search and curate in order to verify a transaction. Blockchain could be applied here to streamline this process, not only by digitizing and securing titles – many titles today are paper-based – but by expediting the time needed to authenticate, validate, and transfer ownership of specific assets.

A company called BigChainDB is developing CarPass in an effort to centralize all information about a car to a shared immutable and transparent database, immune to fraud or tampering. The pass would include title, service providers, prior damage, maintenance, and inspection history, but telemetry and sensor data introduce all manner of possibility in what could be registered on such a ledger. The concept was born in a hackathon in which energy company Innogy, BigChainDB, and Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) conceptualize what could be included in a car’s digital record involving telematics data, device data, and financial services data logged onto a blockchain.

Insurance Claim Processing

The current claims process requires extensive manual documentation, submission, and review resources to verify a claim. Entering these events on a distributed ledger could streamline both claims processing as well as subsequent payouts and service contracts associated with financing and executing repairs. Automotive OEMs could potentially use blockchain technologies like smart contracts or private keys to streamline the filing of certain insurance claims, automatically deploy service technicians, or automate payout.

Supply Chain Management

A supply chain consists of all entities and processes involved in getting an item from raw materials to final product for use. Supply chain processes today are opaque, generally not well understood beyond a few degrees of separation, yet made up of ever-growing and evolving networks of products, people, and counterparties. The automotive supply chain is incredibly complex, consisting of numerous types of parts, hardware, software, and firmware suppliers, distributors, dealers, regulatory agencies, insurance companies, and more. Blockchain technologies can be applied to each of the following phases of the supply chain:

  • Product inception
  • Product development
  • Product distribution
  • Product trade financing
  • Product retail and use
  • Product recycling/aftermarket

Various blockchain technologies could also be applied along multiple phases. Security, identity, and permissioning impact anti-counterfeit measures in the supply chain; smart contracts, oracles, and custom code support security and compliance adherence; decentralization allows multiple parties to be involved in any supply chain to participate in shared (permissioned) record-keeping and reference data; and payments and contracts transfer to expedite reconciliation of the deal and the transfer of money and assets from one party to another.

Toyota Research Institute (TRI) recently unveiled a three-pronged strategy (and a slew of partnershipsto reinforce it) in which they see blockchain technology as underpinning data sharing, ride-sharing transactions, and user-based insurance. While this inherently includes numerous use cases impacting supply chain automation and otherwise, Toyota sent a signal to the market loud and clear: it views blockchain as the enabler for vehicles to receive and carry out all manner of instructions and transactions autonomously, and across multiple constituencies.

Loyalty-Based Microtransactions

Rewards programs are a common tool for driving customer engagement, retention, and additional revenue across a variety of sectors, including financial services, retailers, airlines, hotels, grocery, gaming, restaurant, car rental providers, cruises, fuel/convenience stores, and others. But today’s programs leave much to be desired on both sides: for businesses, points go unused and one-time sign-ups do not drive loyalty; for consumers, loyalty programs are rarely integrated and the ability to accrue value is limited. As businesses are awakening to the opportunity to leverage data for highly contextual marketing, the autonomous car represents the next mobile platform, particularly as passengers do more sitting than driving. Companies like loyyal recognize the need for a shared database to manage high volumes of transactions and enable permissioned access and program execution so that loyalty engagements serve both consumers and the numerous organizations with which they interact.

Industry Consortia Emerging as Critical Catalysts of Blockchain

Believe it or not, these use cases are but the tip of the iceberg for potential blockchain applications within the automotive space. That said, scalability, security, and low standardization across the industry remain significant hurdles. The primary challenge facing commercial blockchain in automotive is the sheer number of parties that would need to adopt decentralized ledgers. This, in addition to dynamic and geographically variable regulatory regimes, is why we are seeing industry consortia emerge as critical catalysts in the blockchain space. Toyota recently announced that it is building its own consortium, and that it is also part of R3. Daimler AG joined the Hyperledger project. Meanwhile, the Blockchain IoT Consortium has come together with the sole purpose of coordinating the universe of IoT suppliers around new blockchain-powered use cases. More and more, Tractica expects automotive OEMs to take steps toward blockchain, with industry leaders accelerating their own efforts. The broader the network adoption, the greater the value and efficiency; the inverse of which is also true.

General Motors has a car without a steering wheel on the way….

Posted on January 20, 2018

The New Year has just begun, but General Motors is already looking toward 2019, when it will take the next step for its self-driving cars. It plans to release the Cruise AV, a self-driving car without a steering wheel, pedals or any of the standard driver controls.

The news comes from a GM announcement about its safety petition to the US Department of Transportation for permission to put the Cruise AV on roads as early as next year.

GM acquired Cruise Automation in 2016, and since then Cruise has worked on its technology. Driverless vehicles powered by Cruise are already on the roads in California, Arizona and Michigan for testing, and these car may soon be in New York City.


The big difference between the existing Cruise vehicles and the upcoming Cruise AV is that this new version, the fourth generation, will be the first production-ready model purpose-built to drive itself.

GM envisions the Cruise AV reduliensale, auto lien, smart cart, car titlecing traffic accidents, giving back the time riders spend stuck in traffic, offering greater mobility for elderly or physically impaired passengers and making the hunt for parking a thing of the past.

Assuming the DOT approves GM’s safety petition, we could all be driving alongside robots next year.


World’s first DIGITAL LICENSE plate, to hit California…..

Posted on January 17, 2018

Reviver Auto, creator of the world’s first digital license plate, today announced that 100,000 RPlate Pros will hit roads in 2018 and Galpin Ford, the number one Ford dealer in the world, is among the first to sell the RPlate to consumers in California.

The RPlate Pro, the latest iteration of the company’s digital license plate, was unveiled today at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) (Reviver Auto’s press conference will be held on Tuesday, January 16th from 3:05pm – 3:25pm ET at the Atrium Stage. Click here to view livestream or archive of the press conference).  Featuring a sleek display that integrates beautifully with today’s – and tomorrow’s – vehicle styles, the RPlate Pro creates new functionalities and efficiencies for consumers and businesses alike. The digital plate is in use in California and in pilot in Arizona. Legislation is approved for pilots in Texas and Florida – with more states to be announced this year.

“The license plate has not changed since Henry Ford debuted the Model T in 1908.  Today, 110 years later, change finally hits the road as the RPlate Pro launches into one of the largest vehicle markets, and most technologically progressive landscapes, in the world, with more to follow,” said Neville Boston, CEO of Reviver Auto. “We are proud that the incredibly innovative Galpin Motors is the very first of what will be many customers across the US who will help us bring our mission of greater connectivity and efficiencies to tens of thousands of vehicle owners and businesses.”

“When I saw the digital license plate from Reviver Auto, I thought it was absolutely awesome!” said Beau Boeckmann, President and COO of Galpin Motors of North Hills, CA. “Galpin has a long history of industry firsts and innovation, all revolving around better serving our customers. So, when we saw this digital license plate, it was natural for us to jump in! We are looking forward to providing Galpin customers another industry first.”

The RPlate Pro transforms the stamped metal license plate into an integrated, elegant digital display that functions as a legal license plate, while adding new digital communications facilitated through RConnect, a browser-based management system that was also unveiled today at NAIAS.

Among the functionalities RConnect makes possible for consumers are automated DMV renewals – replacing legacy stickers and onerous paperwork with digital decals; implementation of charity plates in support of a favorite cause[1]and the display of DMV-approved personal messages like “Don’t Drink and Drive” or “My Child is an Honor Student.” Cost-cutting benefits for businesses include streamlined vehicle registration renewals and easily tracked registration compliance across vehicle fleets, as well as the ability to create customized marketing messages that appear on the plate when parked.

Reviver Auto’s RPlate Pro can be seen in booth #MS06 at The Detroit Auto Show’s Automobili-D showcase. A video of the press conference can be viewed here.

About Reviver Auto
Reviver Auto’s mission is to bring new and far-reaching efficiencies, revolutionary marketing, and unprecedented connectivity to the auto industry through disruptive technology. With its RPlate, the company has completely reinvented the 125-year-old stamped metal license plate into a connected car platform that digitizes and automates the costly, often frustrating and time-consuming DMV renewal process. Approved by multiple DMVs and DOTs, the RPlate also provides telematics functionality and brings a new level of personalization to existing license plates. For more information visit

[1] Current, DMV-approved charity plates only