The block chain is a distributed protocol for data transactions between business partners - also the known cryptographic currencies Bitcoin and Ethereum work in this way. Every change there is recorded transparently and forgery-proof in chronologically consecutive data blocks. According to Oliver Döring, financial strategist at Porsche, this holds enormous potential: "We can use it to transfer data faster and more securely and thus offer our customers even more convenience in the future, be it for loading, parking or to guarantee temporary access to the vehicle for third parties, such as a parcel delivery service".
The developed services based on the blockchain are fast and are considered to be very secure. The car becomes part of the blockchain so that a direct connection is possible without detours via a central server. The process of opening and closing the car via app is thus up to six times faster with a duration of 1.6 seconds than with previous solutions, whose request is first forwarded to a server in the backend and then approved from there. The connection is throughout cryptographically encrypted. The log process ensures that all activities are unchangeably documented in the block chain and can be viewed via app. In this way, access authorizations can also be securely distributed digitally and tracked by the vehicle owner at any time. The access rights can also be granted remotely.
The technology also makes it possible to issue temporary access authorizations to the vehicle. Through the blockchain mechanism, a protected connection to vehicle data and functionalities is established. At the same time, it secures all communication between all participants. Third parties can be integrated without additional hardware via so-called "Smart Contracts". Smart Contracts are automated contracts that trigger transactions when pre-defined conditions are met. This means that compliance with the contract is technically guaranteed. With this technology, Porsche also intends to support the electrification of its fleet. "Starting with faster, more secure authentication at the charging station through to the payment process," says Uwe Michael, Head of Electrics/Electronics Development at Porsche.
The sports car manufacturer is also working on new business models based on the block chain: Data to be processed is encrypted locally in a distributed block chain using auditable data logging. All activities are documented in the blockchain, making erasing processes transparent. On this basis, autonomous driving can be offered with improved functions in the future: Through local data, regional learning effects can be achieved and securely shared with other vehicles. The customer can access swarm data in a privacy-protected process.
In the summer of last year, start-up XAIN won the first "Porsche Innovation Contest" on the subject of blockchaining and prevailed against more than 100 other applicants. Subsequently, Porsche's cross-departmental teams developed and tested applications together with XAIN within three months. The blockchain was integrated into the Porsche Panamera by XAIN using an energy-efficient mining process. In addition, Porsche is currently working on further applications of the technology, for example in the area of loading and parking.
XAIN offers various solutions in the area of block chain and artificial intelligence, with focus on intelligent industrial applications. The founders Leif-Nissen Lundbæk and Felix Hahmann are particularly active in the automotive industry, where they started their careers. In recent years, XAIN, together with researchers from the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, has developed a blockchain system that significantly reduces energy consumption in mining. The XAIN solution can also be used for mobile devices and vehicles.