General Motors has become the latest global company to chase IP protection for blockchain technology – in this case a patent for a data solution for self driving cars powered by distributed ledger technology.
The same technology responsible for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, the GM patent describes a system of automatically recording and storing data from self-driving cars to the blockchain, which could then be processed in multiple different ways.
One of the use cases described in the patent includes using data for navigation, by sharing data between different self-driving vehicles.
“It is desirable to provide locations information and densities of vehicles in regions in an online blockchain ledger for interoperable information sharing between vehicles of participants for use in navigating routes.”
The patent application was published last week by the US Patent and Trademark Office, describing a technology that creates a network of secure, automatically shareable self-driving data.
It is thought that this sharing of data between self-driving vehicles and ultimately other public facilities could be essential in managing traffic flow, improving congestion and maintaining security across self-driving networks.
The patent goes on to describe how the platform could be used across local data exchanges, linking municipalities, transport hubs like airports and ferry terminals, and local authorities, to automatically determine the “validity of permits and licenses to operate as hacks, taxis, or other for-hire services.”
It also discusses how the platform could be used in enforcing penalty notices and tickets, which can be automatically recorded against a particular vehicle on the blockchain platform.
Furthermore, payments could also be tied to the system, which would allow for the automatic settlement of fines or road tolls connected to data recorded on the blockchain, with potentially significant efficiency benefits for local authorities.
Blockchain technology is considered central to the emerging generation of self-driving vehicle technology, allowing for vehicles to communicate and share important data automatically as required.
GM is amongst several leading companies to explore blockchain technology in connection with self-driving vehicles, which could ultimately lead to a role for blockchain in both commercial and personal journeys in the near future.