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New Blockchain Initiative for the Automotive Industry Announced in Dubai

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        Big names like IBM, Ford, BMW and Renault collaborate to bring distributed ledger tech to the automotive sector
Big names like IBM, Ford, BMW and Renault collaborate to bring distributed ledger tech to the automotive sector

Companies ranging from IBM and Context Labs to Ford and BMW announced their collaboration at this year’s Futures Blockchain Summit in Dubai and have gathered together to form the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). The association will explore further blockchain use and study how its technology can make the industry of global transportation less expensive, safer and more widely accessible to citizens around the world.

MOBI is now working with enterprises that account for over 70 percent of global vehicle production in terms of market share including General Motors, ZF, Bosch and Dowa Insurance Services USA.

The group is also seeking to put power back in the hands of consumers by giving them strict sovereignty over their vehicular transaction data, identities and driving data, making their personal information less vulnerable to fraud and cyberthieves.

Former chief financial officer and director of mobility services at Toyota Research Institute Chris Ballinger has agreed to serve as MOBI’s chairman and CEO. His goal is to coordinate the organization’s proposals to better control driver assets and keep their information safe.

“Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles,” he explained. “By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities alike.”

Ballinger told Bitcoin Magazine that while there are many different coalitions in the DLT space, MOBI is unique in that it is horizontally integrated and focused on a particular industry. Other have coalitions have typically driven from the top down, with one big corporation on top (like Walmart or Maersk), or they are focused on developing and promoting a particular technology (like Hyperledger).  

Through an open-source business design, MOBI is aiming to boost blockchain adoption among businesses that either develop or deliver autonomous vehicle and mobility services. Thus far, the group has sent invitations to various automakers, public transportation operators, toll road providers, blockchain firms, technology firms, academic institutions, startup entrepreneurs and even global regulatory bodies to join the cause.

Ballinger will work alongside several tech experts and innovators who will serve on MOBI’s growing advisory panel. The organization’s staff already includes Dan Harple, CEO of Context Labs; Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger; and Jamie Burke, CEO of Outlier Ventures. Ballinger and the team are now putting a list of projects together relating to car sharing and ride hailing; supply chain tracking, transparency and efficiency; vehicle histories; vehicle pollution; and even traffic congestion.

Sophie Schmidtlin — global director of Groupe Renault and fellow MOBI partner — believes the blockchain is among today’s most important technological creations.

“Blockchain technology is by essence decentralized, and its full potential needs to be assessed by working in an open ecosystem,” she stated. “That is why it is natural for Groupe Renault to take part in the MOBI consortium. This consortium will be a great opportunity to share and learn about the possibilities that can be opened by the Distributed Ledger Technology while applied to the automotive ecosystem. Ultimately, we aim to work together to define future standards and use cases that will make an easier everyday life for our customers.”

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