Working with a startup called Xain, Porsche is testing how blockchain could be used in vehicles for secure and fast applications including locking and unlocking via an app and temporary access authorisations. It also sees potential for new business models based on encrypted data logging, and the improvement of autonomous driving functions.
Blockchain is a decentralised protocol for data transactions between business partners. Every change is recorded in chronologically arranged data blocks, the aim being to make it transparent and tamper-proof.
“We can use blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle,” said Oliver Döring, financial strategist at Porsche.
The car becomes part of the blockchain, making a direct offline connection possible that is, without diversion through a server. Efficient cryptographic encryption ensures that all activities are documented in the blockchain in a way that prevents them from being modified, and can be viewed using an app.
Moreover, the technology makes it possible to assign temporary access authorisations for the vehicle. A protected connection to vehicle data and functionalities can be established using blockchain. At the same time, it protects communication between participants. Third-party providers can be integrated without the need for additional hardware, by using smart contracts automated contracts that trigger transactions upon the occurrence of previously defined conditions.
Porsche is also working on new business models based on blockchain. Through auditable data logging, the data to be processed is encrypted locally in a distributed blockchain. The user is in control of the data, deciding how to use it depending on the situation. All activities are documented in the blockchain, making deletions transparent. For autonomous driving, this could mean local data could be used to obtain regional learning effects, to be shared securely with other vehicles. The customer could make use of swarm data, which is also protected.
Blockchain has been introduced into the Porsche Panamera using a mining process from Xain. Porsche is also working on further applications for the technology, including in the areas of charging and parking.