Porsche, blockchain and in-boot delivery

Luxury marque Porsche has announced it is looking at how blockchain could be used in its vehicles, including for in-boot delivery by couriers.

Porsche released a statement saying that it is working with XAIN, a Berlin based startup, to be “the first automobile manufacturer to implement and successfully test blockchain in a car”.

Blockchain is a technology that becomes hard to explain as more detail is added. Here’s Porsche’s take on it: “Blockchain is a decentralised protocol for data transactions between business partners… Every change is recorded in chronologically arranged data blocks, making it transparent and tamper-proof.”

Oliver Döring, Financial Strategist at Porsche, then explained why the company believes blockchain could hold “enormous potential” for the car industry and car owners: “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. We translate the innovative technology into direct benefits for the customer.”

Using the groundbreaking technology there will be a clear, unalterable record of when and to whom the car owner has granted temporary access to their car. Blockchain also speeds up the process.

According to the Porsche statement: “The services developed on the foundation of blockchain are fast and very secure. The car becomes part of the blockchain, making a direct offline connection possible – that is, without diversion through a server. Taking 1.6 seconds, the process of opening and closing the car via an app is up to six times faster than before. In addition, efficient cryptographic encryption takes place. This process 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. For example, access authorisations can be distributed digitally and securely and can be monitored by the vehicle owner at any time. Access also works remotely.

“Moreover, the technology makes it possible to assign temporary access authorisations for the vehicle – in a secure and efficient manner. A protected connection to vehicle data and functionalities can be established using blockchain. At the same time, it protects all communication between participants. Third-party providers can be integrated without the need for additional hardware, simply by using “smart contracts”. Smart contracts are automated contracts that trigger transactions upon the occurrence of previously defined conditions. This means that compliance with the contract is ensured through technology.”