IBM, ZF and UBS to develop blockchain payment platform for cars

IBM ZF and UBS to develop blockchain payment platform for cars
Equipped with Car eWallet technology, a vehicle can automatically pay for transactions at the electric vehicle charging station. Image credit: ZF

ZF, UBS and IBM announced they will soon be jointly developing an open automotive transaction platform for mobility services based on blockchain technology.

Auto manufacturers, technology companies, suppliers and mobility service providers are all driving the development of driverless cars. To support autonomous driving, however, these vehicles require a digital agent that can independently carry out tasks and authorize payments without the owner or user having to be active themselves.

Car eWallet is a blockchain-based digital assistant in the car that allows secure and convenient payments even on the go. Moreover, it can also perform other tasks, like opening the trunk or doors.

Blockchain technology makes it possible to synchronize the information of each participant in the network in a reliable and unchangeable data record. At the same time, it ensures that users only have access to the information that they are permitted to see and use. This makes secure transactions near real time possible without needing a central instance or a reliable third party.

“The trend toward car-sharing and future autonomous vehicles requires, now more than ever, a transaction ecosystem that everyone can use,” said Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF Friedrichshafen. “The Car eWallet technology will reduce risks and costs while dramatically improving convenience for owners and users.”

The platform is built on IBM’s blockchain technology, which is provided through the IBM Cloud and driven by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by the Linux Foundation.

With this public cloud service platform, ZF, UBS and IBM intend to build a secure blockchain network that can collect fees for parking, toll, as well as future use cases such as car-sharing, energy provisioning to the power system or delivery services.

“The world of mobility is quickly evolving with self-driving vehicles, electric cars and new mobility services having quickly evolved from visionary concepts into reality,” said Dirk Wollschlaeger, General Manager IBM Global Automotive, Aerospace and Defense. “Together with UBS and ZF, we are engineering a new mobility platform to redefine how, when and where traditional transactions occur.”

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