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Multinational computing giant IBM is adding to its arsenal of blockchain patents with a new implementation to manage data and interactions for self-driving vehicles (SDVs). The patent was published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office on April 2.
IBM — which has, according to the documents, previously filed extensive patents for various inventions related to autonomous cars — outlines that a blockchain system could effectively enhance SDV configurations by allowing for robust privacy and information validation.
The context for prospective blockchain implementation would be a system wherein an SDV interacts and predicts the behavior of the drivers of non-autonomous vehicles nearby.
The patent first outlines the various parameters that can be used to assess nearby drivers’ behavior, using a wide array of sensor technologies, and how these can be used to optimize risk assessment based on the predicted and the actual maneuver of nearby vehicles/drivers.
“Observing, detecting, and sensing of the driver behavior data can be collected by the in-vehicle sensors of the driver's vehicle in real-time and uploaded onto a cloud data hub, designated [...] as a Mobility Information Hub (MIH), to which the SDV can subscribe to,” the patent outlines.
IBM proposes that blockchain can enhance this complex construction and real-time use of environmental analytics and prediction models by enabling full data functionality, while retaining the privacy of others.
According to IBM, sensor data can be logged into a blockchain system wherein public key infrastructure (PKI) is used to generate “the right public-private pair associate to each SDV/driver, wherein each data uploading or accessing transaction is cryptographically signed using private key.” The patent notes that the system would only allow authorized entities to access the data.
The patent outlines how an SDV can then access the predicted behavior of the nearby drivers in real-time by means a blockchain client application — by scanning, for example, a nearby license plate number.
As previously reported, American car manufacturing giant General Motors has also filed its own blockchain patent for a solution to manage data from autonomous vehicles.
An analysis of blockchain-related patents filed by August 2018 revealed that IBM was virtually neck-and-neck with China’s Alibaba in terms of the highest number of such patents filed by any global entity. The tech giant has also continued to pursue multiple new blockchain patents in 2019.