BMW, GM, Ford and Renault launch blockchain research group for automotive industry

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BMW, GM, Ford and Renault launch blockchain research group for automotive industry

Car makers BMW, General Motors, Ford and Renault are the big names behind a new group announced today to explore the potential of the blockchain in the automotive and mobility space.

MOBI — the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative — launches today with over 30 founding members that also include Bosch, Blockchain at Berkeley, Hyperledger, Fetch.ai, IBM and IOTA. The group has a fairly broad goal of making transportation “safer, more affordable, and more widely accessible using blockchain technology.”

The blockchain has the undoubted potential to impact a range of industries. The distributed ledger component and smart contracts, in particular, could reshape the way organizations and products use and consume data. Along those lines, MOBI said its scope of focus varies from payments, data tracking, and supply management, to consumer finance and pricing, and more futuristic areas like autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing systems.

It isn’t the first time automotive firms have looked at the blockchain. Toyota is already doing its own research, Renault has joined the R3 research consortium, and Daimler is part of the Hyperledger project from the Linux Foundation. With MOBI, however, the group is focusing entirely on the automotive space and potential use cases rather than automotive as one of a number of industries.

“Blockchain and related trust enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles,” Chris Ballinger, who is MOBI’s first chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups, and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities,” added Ballinger, who was formerly CFO and director of mobility services at the Toyota Research Institute .

Members of the organization’s board include Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and a co-founder of Ethereum, and Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger .

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