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China’s automobile manufacturers launch blockchain for connected vehicle data

autonomous connected car

On Wednesday, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) held a meeting about security for connected vehicle data. Numerous global and Chinese auto manufacturers were in attendance. CAAM unveiled a new blockchain solution that aims to provide traceability and trust. The blockchain doesn’t store the data itself but instead stores hashes of data, which can prove that data has not been altered. It was offered to all participants.

Much of the meeting covered the need for a data trust system for connected cars, which involves the government, businesses and users. One of the challenges is the sheer volume of data produced. Another is the issue of data privacy.

Few additional details were shared apart from the attendees, which included 32 smart and connected-car related companies. International manufacturers in attendance were Tesla, Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW, Audi, and Geely (owns Volvo), as well as Bosch and the German Automobile Manufacturers Association. 

From China there was FAW, SAIC, Changa, Dongfen, BAIC, GAC, Great Wall, Chery, Weilai, Idea, Xiapeng, China Auto Chuangzhi, Shanghai Auto Inspection, NavInfo, Horizon, Energy Chain Technology and Momenta. 

Several Chinese government departments were also in attendance, including the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, the Institute of Information and Communications Technology, and the National Monitoring and Management Platform for New Energy Vehicles.

The strong government presence raises the question of whether the Chinese government will seek to access data from cars manufactured by Western brands. If those companies enable that data access for any purpose other than accident investigations, it might impact the perception of the brands in the West. 

It’s a tricky area because future criminal investigations worldwide are likely to want to access this sort of data to prove a person was in a particular place. In the past, they would have accessed the car directly and the manufacturer or service provider would not get involved. 

Meanwhile, last month the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) released a set of standards for mobility data sharing. Some of its members, such as BMW and Bosch, were also at the CAAM meeting.

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