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January 2019

Blockchain, growing automotive investments in technology and safety

Francesca Del Bello

From an Ibm research what emerges is how eagerly top managers are looking forward to the application of blockchain technology in the automotive sector.
The automotive sector as a whole is displaying a keen interest in blockchain technology: as the development and implementation of connected cars has been identified as one of the industry’s  most important short-term objectives, blockchain technology could be an important ally. The creation of a decentralized database, composed of a series of blocks containing transactions protected by complex cryptographic systems able to prevent hackers from compromising transaction data - one of the most significant advantages of this technology -, turns out to have many other possible applications within the industry.
Although at present only a small number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are ready to take advantage of the enormous potential that blockchain technology offers, 62% of the industry’s top managers claim that as early as 2021 this technology will significantly impact the automotive world. These are the figures emerging from a recent study conducted by the Ibm Institute for business value in collaboration with Oxford Economics entitled 'Daring to be the first, How auto pioneers are taking the plunge into blockchain'; the research involved 1,314 automotive executives from 10 countries and 10 automotive sectors.
The research highlighted several areas in which the introduction of blockchain-based systems will produce a significant improvement and greater operational efficiency: financial transactions between participants, car access authentication and customer experience just to mention a few.
In addition, the study highlighted how OEMs in China, Germany and Mexico, have unquestionably identified the after-sales sector as an area of particular interest as far as the development and potential use of blockchain technology. In fact, to date, it is still rather difficult to trace vehicle components during their entire life cycle, creating the opportunity, for some dodgy service centres, to use counterfeit parts. Thus, blockchain technology could play a crucial role in developing an efficient traceability system to be applied to the global automotive supply chain.
Ben Stanley, Automotive Research for the Ibm Institute for Business Value, identifies secure data sharing, car and route sharing data and vehicle purchasing as the three main areas of blockchain development during 2019. "Blockchain use is still in its infancy in the automotive arena," says Stanley, "but its potential is huge”.

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