Digitalisation will play a key role in the future of the mobility sector, whether we're talking about self-driving cars, solving congestion and parking problems or reducing CO2 emissions. What is needed, though if the mobility transition is to take place safely and sustainably? How can we get all of those new, smart vehicles to communicate with each other and with people, organisations and other smart “things” safely, efficiently and without compromising privacy? How can we gather Big Data as input for AI while respecting privacy? How can we guarantee a market that is open, fair and transparent? What role should and must the governmental authorities play and how can we make sure that the public remain the central focus and are offered sufficient freedom of choice?
That is quite a stack of questions with no ‘oven-ready’ answers; we cannot expect technology and blockchain to come up with magic solutions for them, of course. Blockchain and decentralised technology can, however, yield some of the crucial pieces of the puzzle (ones that are largely invisible to the end users), for instance as part of a mix with other technology such as AI, the IoT and 5G.
This can involve elements such as:
Decentralised identities and verified data
For example to provide rapid digital forms of identity that are user-friendly and respect privacy and for reusing personal data to get customers on board for mobility services (without a third party needing to intercede).
‘Digital twin’ solutions for vehicles that are safe and respect privacy
This would make it possible for vehicles to make payments automatically and share data, for instance for parking, fines, paying for road use in general and for toll roads (after obtaining the vehicle owner’s approval).
Organisation and governance within the mobility sector
Systems of agreements and governance models are always going to be needed. However, decentralised technology makes new forms of cooperation possible that can affect the agreements made within the sector. There can be more direct communication between parties without third-party intervention needed, for example, or smart contracts can be used, as can tokenisation or public discovery service and so forth. Governmental and regulatory bodies and the market will still have to agree rules with each other, though this will now have to take account of the new technical capabilities.
New forms of financial transactions and value transfer
- Possibilities for extremely granular forms of micropayments;
- Smart contracts for automatically handling payments based on recorded agreements between parties;
- Use of tokens for incentives, for example so that governmental authorities can encourage and reward specific behaviours (environmentally friendly transport, parking policy, driving behaviour, etc.);
- New forms of ‘pay per use’, such as charging costs through automatically based on geolocation data for your car, or perhaps insurance policies that take account of the way you drive (in a way that still respects your privacy).
The Dutch Blockchain Coalition as the linking element
Together with its partners, the Dutch Blockchain Coalition is addressing these issues and acting as a linking element between market parties from the mobility sector, central and local government authorities, solutions providers and blockchain experts. The DBC uses its contacts both in the Netherlands and in its international network for this.