The benefits of Blockchain technology span across a range of industries. After launching Innovation Contest in 2017 in collaboration with Spin Lab Accelerator, Porsche Ventures revealed its serious plans to become a Blockchain adopter, and use the underlying benefits to decentralize the car manufacturing industry. 120 international startups participated in the competition, however the winner of the grand prize of $25,000 was Berlin-based startup XAIN. The team developed an application that uses Blockchain algorithms within cars. Porsche Ventures plans to invest 150M EUR in AI and Blockchain in the next five years in order to gain access to “new business models, trends and technologies”.
Blockchain-based university research project goes global with its tech
The story of XAIN began at the University of Oxford, as a research project. The initial goal was to leverage AI to increase Blockchain technology applications. At the heart of XAIN (eXpandable AI Network) lies a proprietary technology stack based on Ethereum as well as several machine learning methods.
Defined as a permissioned, blockchain-based and open source system centered at low-energy IoT devices (e.g. cars), XAIN focuses on “developing artificial intelligence systems that are directly applied on local data in a distributed system. One of our scenarios hereby is, e.g., autonomous driving, which we developed together with the University of Oxford and Porsche as a leading German carmaker.”
XAIN is looking to make use of distributed machine learning methods to train cars leveraging local data augmented by general and synthetic information, such as weather forecasting. According to XAIN officials, the team requires an adaptable, dynamic, and energy-efficient infrastructure for their distributed intelligent systems. Blockchain technology, when properly configured, plays a fundamental role in crafting viable technological solutions.
Porsche, the first auto manufacturer to test and implement Blockchain technology in a car
Potential applications for distributed ledger technology in cars vary from opening/locking car doors using an app to getting access to various in-car features, and more. Porsche stated that the technology has great potential in improving further capabilities and safety features of driverless cars. Oliver Döring, financial strategist at Porsche, highlights several of the most essential perks of Blockchain:
“We can use it 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”. According to Porsche, “when a car becomes an integrated part of the Blockchain, it makes a direct offline connection possible without a diversion through a server.”
Existing technologies still demand an online connection, as well as alignment with the car’s data which is usually stored on a centralized server.
Porsche Panamera use case – first successful pilot project of the Porsche Vehicle Network
Following the “Porsche Innovation Contest”, XAIN worked on testing and developing applications with several teams from Porsche over the course of 3 months. Porsche Panamera was a first use case for Blockchain with technology provided by XAIN. In the foreseeable future, the auto manufacturer is looking to explore further applications using the distributed ledger technology, tackling areas such as car parking and charging.
“Thanks to the development of XAIN’s vehicle management platform, Porsche becomes the 1st OEM to implement a distributed network client and blockchain node inside of a vehicle ECU. The client manages 3 main distributed access control epics: Secure data logging and sharing, with user-centric permission control, flexible peer-to-peer car sharing, and 3rd party integrations.”
XAIN offers a range of artificial intelligence and Blockchain-based solutions. Their main focus is on intelligent industrial applications where the founders “envision a world where equally-distributed intelligent systems enable collaboration and trust”.
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