Carmakers, suppliers launch open mobility blockchain initiative

Carmakers, suppliers launch open mobility blockchain initiative

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The goal is broadly defined and ambitious, the list of participants is impressive: With MOBI, the automotive and mobility industry plans to explore the blockchain technology for use in a new digital mobility ecosystem that could make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible. On board are carmakers, tier ones suppliers, technology companies and others. The list includes automotive OEMs BMW, Ford, General Motors, and Renault; from the supplier side, ZF already has announced its accession; Bosch is said to be very interested. On the MOBI passenger list one can find also consulting company Accenture, IT services and technology vendor IBM as well as a very long list of lesser-known names such as Crypto Valles Association, Ride Austin, or Xain. The full list can be accessed at the MOBI website.

The bockchain technology operates by distributing information to a network of independent computers and ensuring that transactions are secure and data privacy, ownership rights, and integrity are protected. Working in a consortium allows MOBI and partners to create transparency and trust among users, reduce risk of fraud, and reduce frictions and transaction costs in mobility, such as fees or surcharges applied by third-parties.

Chris Ballinger, former Chief Financial Officer and Director of Mobility Services at Toyota Research Institute, is joining MOBI as Chairman and CEO to coordinate the initiative and use blockchain to create an open platform where users, owners, mobility service companies, and infrastructure providers can better control and monetize their assets, including their data.

The range of applications for blockchain in the automotive industry and the emerging mobility industry. Examples are applications to ensure a vehicle’s identity and history, and tracking of related data. At least as relevant is probably a second field of applications: By using the blockchain technology to supply chain tracking, carmakers and associated members of the supply chain could increase the efficiency of this supply chain ensure that no counterfeit components come into circulation. Another field of application is the distribution from data generated in the cars (including autonomous vehicles), a field that many observers believe could become a gold mine. Further applications could be created in the areas of car sharing and ride hailing as well as in usage-based mobility pricing for vehicles, energy, congestion, pollution and many more.

ZF was one of the first Tier 1 suppliers to develop a blockchain-based mobility application. The Group’s Car eWallet technology allows vehicles to interact with other machines for technical services and pay for traffic-related services such as parking, tolls or loading charges independently. Such a system is particularly important because more and more highly automated or autonomous vehicles are coming onto the market.

Through an open-source approach to blockchain software tools and standards, the consortium hopes to stimulate more rapid and scalable adoption of the technology by other companies developing autonomous vehicle and mobility services. The consortium’s approach to ecosystem development is open and inclusive, inviting stakeholders from across the entire mobility value chain and helps to establish a “minimum viable network”. This includes Automakers, public transportation, toll road providers, other forms of transportation, technology firms, blockchain firms, academic institutions, startup innovators, and regulatory bodies across the globe – all designed to further the MOBI’s mission.

“We believe blockchain will transform the way people and businesses interact, creating new opportunities in mobility. We look forward to working together with our industry colleagues as part of MOBI to set the standards for the mobility ecosystem of tomorrow,” commended Rich Strader, Vice President Mobility Product Solutions at Ford Motor Corp.


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