While the likes of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche have entered the market with new blockchain-based initiatives, US-based automotive maker Ford has swung back with a new patent for car-to-car cryptocurrency transactions.
While vehicles aren’t set to pay for goods anytime soon, Ford’s latest patent instead details a mechanism through which a blockchain could be used to foster a decentralized network for vehicle-to-vehicle co-operation in traffic.
The patent – which officially details a ‘Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass (CMMP) system’, would see driving behavior “monitored, recorded, and evaluated in a collective manner by themselves and other participating vehicles.”
Principally, the proposal outlines a system wherein vehicles leveraging the system could use a distributed network to tailor and adapt to the driving preferences of human pilots, and accordingly could use such information to alleviate traffic congestion by enabling collectives of vehicles to coordinate their speeds.
As the patent itself outlines:
“This system would temporarily allow for particular cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as ‘consumer vehicles’) to drive at higher speeds in less-occupied lanes of traffic and also to merge and pass freely when needed. Other participating cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as ‘merchant vehicles’) voluntarily occupy slower lanes of traffic to [allow] the consumer vehicle to merge into their lanes and pass as needed.”
The patent outlines that ‘CMMP tokens’ would be used to facilitate the transfer of messages between vehicles – describing that “CMMP tokens are used to validate and authorize a transaction in which, at consumer vehicles’ request, the merchant vehicles either occupy slower lanes of traffic themselves, or allow the consumer vehicle to merge into their own lane and pass as necessary.”
The system would leverage CMMP tokens on a credit basis – the patent outlines that “the time allotted to the request of the consumer vehicle is based on the number of CMMP tokens chosen by the consumer vehicle to be spent at that particular time. For example, a driver of a consumer vehicle which is running late for an appointment may request to pass any participating merchant vehicles for a duration of 10 minutes on a particular road or highway for 60 CMMP tokens, at a rate of 10 seconds preferential access per token.”
Notably, several automotive giants have outlined varying use-cases for blockchain technology. Specifically, Mercedez-Benz has pioneered a blockchain-based rewards program through MobiCoin, while Porsche has turned its attention to blockchain-based identity systems for smart vehicle start-ups.
BMW has instead opted for an industrial approach, and has recently partnered with VeChain THOR to pioneer blockchain-ready supply chain management systems.