At the Bosch Connected World Conference, Volkswagen announced that they would cooperate with the Berlin-based company, IOTA in developing decentralized technology for connected cars. This comes shortly after the automotive supplier, Bosch invested in IOTA last year. Volkswagen Chief Digital Officer, Johann Jungwirth described the potential of the partnership.
Besides the geographic proximity of the three companies, IOTA brings other benefits to the model that traditional blockchain technologies do not offer. IOTA uses a non-blocking tangle system, making it optimal for IoT (Internet of Things) through its ability to combine with a virtually unlimited number of endpoints.
The IOTA cryptocurrency requires each new transaction to validate two or more other transactions in the network before it can be validated. In other words, as the IOTA network grows, transactions are validated faster, not slower as with most traditional blockchain solutions, while maintaining a high level of security, and its developers also promise quantum security.
— Stefan Ferber (@Stefferber) February 21, 2018
Volkswagen’s vision is to use IOTA in new Connected Car systems. As a starting point, it may protect the distribution of Over-the-Air (OTA) software updates. In this way, IOTA may be used to distribute updates to vehicle computers securely, efficiently and wirelessly.
IOTA may also serve as a MaaS solution (Mobility-as-a-Service) using Volkswagen vehicles for transportation. This technology is key to developing Smart Cities. The goal would be to solve urban density problems using data and logic, with cars and other modes of transportation that people may use as a service, rather than bringing their personal cars into urban areas. IOTA may therefore play an integral role in end-to-end trip planning, booking, and payment services associated with using these mobile services.
As part of the partnership between Volkswagen and IOTA, Jungwirth will join the Supervisory Board of the IOTA Foundation. In this role, he will oversee the foundation’s annual budget and roadmap, while advising on synergies between the two companies.
VW is already developing future technologies, including its first fully autonomous vehicle, the concept I.D. This concept car is designed to learn your driving preferences and personal settings, while providing a fully automatic mode complete with steering wheel retraction, where it will drive you to your destination on autopilot. The I.D. was unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show and includes no visible controls or conventional foot pedals. Instead of using these conventional controls, you drive using gestures and voice control.
The concept includes a scenario where drivers would have their own Volkswagen ID to unlock and start cars with compatible smartphones. This is where IOTA and MaaS technology may come into play. Imagine where you get in a random car parked in the city, and based on your preferences, the environment is automatically customized to your preferences.
VW plans to produce over 20 electric vehicles by 2025, with the ID kicking things off in 2020 in the compact class. Other car manufacturers are getting into the autonomous vehicle space, and new players like Google and Nvidia are looking to provide much of this technology. However, Volkswagen and IOTA appear to be the first serious partnership between an established automobile manufacturer and a decentralized software company.
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