Autonomous driving has come, and autonomous driving is still far away from us. This contradictory statement reflects the huge invisible gap between technological innovation and reality.
We were amazed at the fiery investment in the field of autonomous driving in 2018, and also saw the sad departure of various startups after the capital ebb in 2019. When capital also underestimates the difficulty of autonomous driving, and when it converges, every one of us who cares about autonomous driving will always have this huge question: How far is the popularization of autonomous driving in passenger cars from us?
Perhaps no manufacturer or expert can give a clear timetable, three years or five years? Eight years and ten years? Answering this question involves many technical, cost, safety, and policy and regulatory difficulties that autonomous driving has to overcome. Among them, there is a very time-rigid constraint that also restricts the development speed of autonomous driving, that is, the test data for autonomous driving with sufficient mileage.
According to a 2016 study by the RAND Corporation, a U.S. think-tank, hundreds of millions or even hundreds of billions of test miles are required to ensure the reliability of self-driving cars so that they can handle all situations that occur on public roads and avoid traffic accidents. In 2019, the representative Waymo in the field of autonomous driving has accumulated more than 16 million kilometers of tests on actual roads.
For autonomous vehicles, test data can be said to be the foundation of the foundation. These test data have become the most valuable asset of autonomous driving manufacturers and the best barrier to competition.
So does this most rigid time barrier require each car company to overcome individually? Even if the self-driving system is becoming more and more perfect and the test mileage of the leading manufacturers has increased significantly, we estimate that it will be many years before we see truly mature self-driving cars on the road. At that time, we can only choose from a handful of manufacturers of self-driving cars.
Maybe a new batch of “data hegemony” will form again. So is there another way currently? Don’t every manufacturer have to “invent the wheel” anew? There is actually a way.
As early as May 2018, more than 30 founding members around the world, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Renault, Bosch, ZF, etc., jointly established a large-scale blockchain alliance – the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). , which aims to explore the potential of blockchain in automotive and mobility.
The original intention of MOBI is to create a set of common standards and open interfaces for a new digital mobility ecosystem in the automotive field through blockchain technology, covering ecological construction in various fields from car manufacturing to car payment, from car sharing to autonomous driving.
Among them, around the production and ownership of massive data generated by autonomous driving, MOBI believes that blockchain can provide a powerful decentralized tool to help autonomous driving manufacturers to control and manage these data.
The vision is grand and the original intention is excellent, but we can’t help but ask what tangible results MOBI has achieved in the nearly two years since its establishment? Why does the huge chasm of autonomous driving need to be bridged by blockchain technology? In the future, through the form of blockchain + data sharing, what impact will it have on the autonomous driving industry?
The grand ideal takes the first step in the real process
Although MOBI has been joined and supported by the world’s four largest automakers, as well as some parts manufacturers, large institutions and blockchain organizations, it still has to pass a new set of rules to challenge a one that has been going on for hundreds of years. The prevailing business rule is that the winner takes all in business competition.
In 2018, both autonomous driving and blockchain became the hottest investments in the limelight. The successful example of Google Waymo has made autonomous driving an outlet for many Internet manufacturers, traditional car manufacturers and startups to bet on. And tens of millions of kilometers of autonomous driving test data make Waymo a well-deserved leader. Manufacturers such as Apple, Amazon, Uber and domestic Baidu have also begun to conduct a large number of data tests. At the beginning of entering the game, it seems that every manufacturer is full of ambitions, hoping that they can win a few places in this data battlefield and win the future trillion-dollar market.
But as the previous data shows, this is clearly unlikely. MOBI realizes that this fragmented data war will ultimately only form a monopoly that benefits a few tech giants, just like Google’s data monopoly in search, video, and Facebook in social. A more reasonable data property rights system verified by blockchain technology may be an effective solution to this problem.
MOBI realizes that the implementation of new solutions needs to start from the ground up. For the confirmation of vehicle identity data, car sharing, mobile commerce and autonomous driving, MOBI has launched a “minimum feasible system” practice program.
Based on this, MOBI cooperated with the Trust Internet of Things Alliance (TIoTA) to launch the first automotive blockchain application competition MOBI Grand Challenge in October 2018, promoting data sharing of automotive systems through feasible blockchain technology, seeking to improve Solutions for vehicular and urban traffic stress. In February 2019, BMW announced the competition’s first entry winners at its event in Munich, Germany. At the same time, BMW has also become the first German car company to support the use of blockchain for autonomous driving data.
In April 2019, GM began chairing the Autonomous Vehicle Data Market (AVDM) group, working with other OEMs and MOBI members to build a system based on autonomous vehicle data. In July, MOBI launched the first blockchain-based vehicle identification standard (VID) in partnership with Renault, Ford and BMW Group; in September, it partnered with more automaker members to propose blockchain-based vehicles The Identity Standard (VID) develops a multi-stakeholder proof-of-concept (PoC), which means starting as the smallest unit of a car to establish a “birth” digital identity that provides industry guidelines and standards of practice. This also means that blockchain has taken a key step in the field of mobile economy.
Judging from the progress of MOBI in the past two years, the alliance has received strong support from traditional car manufacturers, which control nearly 70% of the global passenger car sales. Once blockchain-based VID certification and autonomous driving Data sharing has really begun to be implemented, and its implementation speed must exceed many people’s expectations.
However, MOBI is only the first step in the “Long March”, and in front of the new digital mobile ecosystem lies the authoritative Google of autonomous driving and the upstart manufacturers who have risen in recent years. How to convince them to join this digital mobile ecosystem will be a major test for MOBI? To meet the test, we first need to answer a question, why does autonomous driving need the empowerment of blockchain technology?
Blockchain’s Paddle-Driven Autonomous Driving Across Mountains and Seas
As we all know, blockchain technology has the characteristics of distribution, decentralization and non-tampering. It is very suitable for providing credit weighting for those data with large data volume and high reliability requirements. It has natural properties in finance, insurance, education, manufacturing and other fields application scenarios, especially for the Internet of Things.
Because through the use of blockchain technology, the transparency and accuracy of digital information systems can be effectively improved, and the security and traceability of IoT data can be guaranteed to the greatest extent from identity verification to consumer payment, and even to the on-chain of comprehensive interactive data. . And autonomous driving is a very typical application scenario of the Internet of Things.
First of all, the most important thing to solve is the safety and trust problem of autonomous driving. At present, the number of cars in the world exceeds 2 billion and continues to grow. The safety accidents of autonomous driving and the trust of autonomous driving decision-making are becoming increasingly prominent. In order to solve these problems, users’ data trust in autonomous driving can be continuously enhanced through the encryption and decentralization features of blockchain.
1. Safety is always the first consideration for autonomous driving technology. The sensor data, driving records and data of human intervention recorded by the blockchain will be authenticated and cannot be tampered with, ensuring clear accountability after a car accident.
2. Although the self-driving car has not yet been found to be hacked or interfered by human beings, it does not mean that the current self-driving data cannot be broken. The data of the blockchain is recorded in a distributed manner. Only when 80% of the blocks are attacked at the same time, can the data be tampered with. Therefore, the autonomous driving communication information running on the blockchain will ensure higher reliability and reliability. safety.
3. Blockchain can provide more efficient data dissemination for autonomous driving. The essence of autonomous driving is a system in which the car continuously obtains data and information from road conditions, the vehicle itself, surrounding vehicles, pedestrians, etc. The traditional IoT communication protocol will make this data communication extremely complicated. The distributed ledger accounting method of the blockchain allows any node in the network to accurately access any other data at the same time. By creating this distributed car network and seamlessly performing point-to-point transmission of data, it will be better to build Safe cyber environment for autonomous driving.
Secondly, the blockchain will speed up the verification process of autonomous driving test data, and also solve the problem of data property rights. As pointed out earlier, the Internet giants that laid out autonomous driving in the early stage have almost mastered the largest-scale autonomous driving road test data, and have become the most important competitive advantage of enterprises. If in the future, most people can only choose self-driving services from a few or even only one of Google’s automakers, it is clear that no one has the ownership of these self-driving data. And these few players are still the data monopolies in the new era.
The distributed ledger technology of the blockchain can obtain autonomous driving records from different brands of car manufacturers, large fleets, and private car owners, and accelerate the process of autonomous driving test data through this “crowdsourcing” method. At the same time, because the owners of these devices actively upload the data, the blockchain confirms that the data can be owned and controlled by its producers. These producers can be individuals, fleets, manufacturers, or urban road traffic departments.
Finally, open source blockchain technology helps autonomous driving build a better data system for lane coordination. At present, the intelligent system of automatic driving of bicycles has entered a bottleneck point. Although its intelligent system has reached a very high level, such as a 95% recognition rate of road signs and traffic lights, the higher the cost, the less effective it is. Any safety risk that exists will greatly reduce the L4 level of fully autonomous driving. Lane coordination has become a solution to solve more complex scene problems at a lower cost. By adding blockchain technology to the in-vehicle system, cloud platform and road network system, the overall efficiency of vehicle perception data, cloud prediction analysis and road network information transmission can be improved.
For example, a self-driving car will no longer completely read the high-precision map of the area in which it is located, but can efficiently obtain the current data by communicating with the edge-side data center of the current distributed record. Map information to complete the identification and judgment of road information.
If we say that the ship of the self-driving industry is on the threshold of reaching the mature blue waters of the industry, it needs to break through the current turbulent shoals, while the blockchain technology is more like a paddle that provides a source of power and resists strong resistance. , to help autonomous driving break through the current predicament. Of course, the road to breakthrough is not an instant, but to advance the camp step by step according to the time plan in the alliance ecology such as MOBI, and also requires the active promotion and open cooperation of alliance members.
And all this takes time.
Blockchain + data sharing:
A new expression for autonomous driving into the blue ocean
At present, no one will deny Waymo’s status as the “leading brother” in the field of autonomous driving, and no one will question that Waymo, which has already begun to accelerate the promotion of business processes, will continue to lead the next decade.
Commercialization and product landing will be the main theme of the current autonomous driving industry, and it is also the premise for many autonomous driving manufacturers to survive. However, if autonomous driving is to truly win the future, it will have to address the challenges of autonomous driving for billions of passenger cars. The most important thing is to complete the safety data of automatic driving to accelerate the arrival of the era of fully automatic driving.
The first is to support data sharing of autonomous vehicles across automakers through blockchain technology. This is the task that the traditional big companies in the MOBI alliance, represented by GM, BMW, and Ford, who have joined the field of autonomous vehicles, have to make every effort to facilitate.
Secondly, V2X communication is supported based on the blockchain secure data exchange protocol to realize secure and congestion-free data traffic communication between the vehicle and the network before the lane. The three-year MGC challenge proposed by MOBI will continue, and more innovative blockchain solutions for mobile data will be selected through thematic competitions.
In addition, the certification of autonomous vehicles based on the blockchain protocol establishes general rules to ensure data sharing between autonomous vehicles and urban infrastructure, thereby establishing a safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly travel ecology.
On the journey through layers of technical obstacles to the blue sea of autonomous driving, perhaps Waymo’s path is more like the first pioneers who are invincible and not afraid of hardships and dangers, and want to occupy the next vast colony first. The ecological alliance represented by MOBI is more like the representatives of the “Mayflower” who immigrated from the old world to the new world. Before entering the new field, they did not rush to enclose the field, but first made a covenant and demarcated the boundary, so that the new blue ocean would become a more civilized and orderly place.
In the future, the way of blockchain + data sharing may make the vast blue ocean of autonomous driving more prosperous. The important thing is to allow more voyagers to have their own rich territory.
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