MOBI, the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, debuted on Wednesday (May 2) to explore blockchain for use in transportation.
In a press release, the group, which includes BMW, Bosch, Ford, General Motors, Groupe Renault, ZF, Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Services USA and others, will focus on using blockchain to make transportation safer, more affordable and more accessible. The group said it is actively working with companies that represent more than 70 percent of global vehicle productions when looked at it from a market share perspective.
MOBI also announced that Chris Ballinger, former chief financial officer and director of Mobility Services at Toyota Research Institute, is joining MOBI as chairman and CEO. In his new role, Ballinger will coordinate the initiative and use blockchain to create a more open platform, where users, owners, mobility service companies and infrastructure providers can better control and monetize their assets, such as their data.
“Blockchain and related trust-enhancing technologies are poised to redefine the automotive industry and how consumers purchase, insure and use vehicles,” said Ballinger in the press release. “By bringing together automakers, suppliers, startups and government agencies, we can accelerate adoption for the benefit of businesses, consumers and communities.”
By working in a consortium, MOBI’s partners will create transparency and trust among users, reduce the risk of fraud and lower frictions and transaction costs, such as fees or surcharges. The group plans to use an open source approach to blockchain software tools and standards. They hope by doing so that it will prompt “rapid and scalable” adoption of the technology by other companies that are working on self-driving cars and mobility services.
Joining Ballinger as co-founders and serving on the initial board of directors are Ashley Lannquist from Blockchain at Berkeley and David Luce, a veteran technology leader. Dan Harple, internet pioneer and CEO of Context Labs, Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger, and Jamie Burke, CEO of Outlier Ventures, are joining MOBI’s board of advisors. The board is expected to grow to include advisors needed to ensure the consortium achieves its goals.
Initially, MOBI will work on projects related to vehicle identity, history and data tracking; supply chain tracking; autonomous machine and vehicle payments; secure mobility ecosystem, commerce, data markets for autonomous and human driving, car and ridesharing and usage-based mobility pricing for vehicles, insurance, energy, congestion, pollution and infrastructure.