“The one who follows the crowd never gets ahead of the crowd. Whatever you do, enjoy the ride.”
– Travis Kalanick, CEO Uber –
Blockchain and the Sharing Economy
Mobility Of Tomorrow
In the previous segment of “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility – Part 1,” we touched on blockchain technology and its global application to sectors of transportation and auto ownership. In Part 2 of this three-part series we will briefly summarize the blockchain and its application to the aviation industry and urban transportation. A special focus is on ride-sharing, ride-hailing, and the autonomous vehicle phenomenon.
Getting Bureaucracy Out Of The Way
Tap the screen on your smartphone and poof — a car appears outside your front door. Who imagined this kind of magic? Travis Kalanick, co-founder and CEO of Uber, and to say he disrupted urban transportation is an understatement. On his tails are fierce competitors, but for consumers, competition always breeds a better product. How many decades have we waited for government-run public transportation to live up to its promises? More often than not, people invent, adopt, and exploit products and services that outperform public options. Ride-share and ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, and Grab are no exception.
This phenomenon in mobility has reduced, if not eliminated, mind-numbing bureaucracies in one of the fastest growing sectors. And they are only starting – with vertical integration creating even more innovative products and services to satisfy a common need. So, what part will blockchain technology play in all of this? How about everything.
Solutions For The Future
CarBlock is a blockchain-based transportation solution built on data generated by a users’ smart phones and devices. It is collaborating with the the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), adopting blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). The objective is development of a digital mobility ecosystem. The aim is to make transportation safer, more affordable, and more widely available by utilizing DLT to store and manage data. This includes driving records, ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage.
In line with this, Kuaidi Dache is also building a blockchain-based ride-sharing product equivalent to Uber. DACSEE is currently available for Android users in Malaysia. The project is slated to go live in Indonesia, Thailand, China and other Asian markets later this year. The DACSEE platform utilizes blockchain to create a decentralized and autonomous ride-sharing service. The service requires no central authority. Therefore there are no middlemen fees.
Prior to the public release, testing of the the beta version of the DACSEE app was successful in Kuala Lumpur. A designated pool of drivers and passengers reviewed bookings, created connections, and added passengers to their network via the Circle of Friends feature. Indeed, competitors typically charge anywhere between 20-25% in commission fees. Meanwhile, the DACSEE digital wallet only takes 1-2% from a driver’s wallet.
“Ridehailing is the first time blockchain will be tested on a social application on mass scale,” announced Chen Weixing, CEO and developer of the Chinese ride-hailing app Funcity. Chen is a big believer and one of the most vocal pro-blockchain investors in China. He is certain that the blockchain is the information highway of the future. Chen is no small player, investing in more than a dozen cryptocurrency projects last year. Such projects include major trading platforms like Binance and Huobi.
Today’s ride-sharing technologies do not rely on cars connected to The Internet of Things (IoT), but on smartphones that connect drivers with riders. The Chasyr project addresses safety and public security concerns shared by these companies. Consider that Uber and Lyft serve 40 million people each month worldwide. They spend millions of dollars annually running criminal background checks on drivers and verifying identities of passengers. Despite these efforts, incidences of crime and fraud are still high.
With vertical integration by Chasyr, more companies will be able to verify a driver’s identity, insurance details, and medical records while running criminal background checks on the blockchain, facilitating a move towards greater decentralization.
Urban transportation will become increasingly complex and our roads possibly more crowded in the future as the importance of mobility services like Uber and Lyft are growing. Figures indicate an estimated $69 billion, and $7.5 billion net worth, respectively.
Further, there is the autonomous car market. Autonomous cars require massive amounts of driving data from different users, vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers for storage, management, and utilization all at once.
“Hundreds of billions of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles” says Chris Ballinger, director of military services and CFO at TRI. Already in development by Google and Tesla, the Toyota Research Institute is on their tails, teaming up with MIT Media lab, Oaken Innovations, and Commuterz to explore how blockchain could speed up autonomous car development.
Toll payments may also be made simpler with blockchains. Connecting vehicles with highway toll booths allows seamless payments using radio-frequency identification and file-sharing protocols already in use. The proposed system would cost cities and consumers far less than the current one that relies on large server infrastructures for accounting, identification, and payment processing.
Clearly, blockchains are destined to find applications in every area of mobility, and this includes aviation. The sky is the limit, but today’s system is horribly outdated and couldn’t possibly support expansion. Smart contracts are one answer and something airlines could adopt right away to safely manage, store, and share passenger details, along with flight history, loyalty programs, and preferred insurance data.
In summary, governments could regulate a much-needed logistical overhaul using the blockchain to record flight plans, ticketing, the location of cargo, aircraft maintenance, passenger and crew identities, and to better prepare customs.
If you enjoyed this article, catch up on Part 1 of our “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility” series that covers the global effects of blockchain technology on the transportation sector, and the how it applies to auto sales, service, parts, and ownership.
Part 3 of our “Blockchain and the Future of Mobility” series summarizes trucking, global shipping, and troubled government projects.