Daimler Creating Hardware Wallets For Vehicles
Transaction feature could find its way into rental car fleets
To take advantage of cryptocurrency transactions like bitcoin, automaker Daimler announced it is working on a security feature described as a hardware wallet. The innovation, which resembles a strongbox is being developed with project partner Riddle & Code, an Austrian-based hardware and software company that specializes in components for cryptocurrency exchanges.
Daimler hasn’t announced whether these hardware wallets will be installed into any of its vehicular inventory such has Mercedes Benz models. But it does have aspirations to ensure these features will eventually be installed in every car that’s wired for connectivity. The hardware wallet especially has provisions for the rental car industry to better monitor its fleet, whether any autos are in the parking lot or on the road.
During a presentation at the Startup Autobahn offices in Stuttgart, Germany, officials showed off the tamper-proof box that tracks and records the vehicle’s level of performance as a safeguard to ensure timely maintenance. Each box has a cryptographic code used for any vehicle in which it’s installed and can meld with the car’s own high-tech features to handle any sensory data from the car.
Arguably, those amenities are similar to most other connectivity innovations that competitors have been toying with of late. But where the hardware wallet stands out is with Riddle & Code’s technology dubbed blockchain, a database shared with a wide network of computers including one that’s on board the vehicle. Daimler promised that the wallet will provide added convenience such as using cryptocurrency to automatically pay for parking, tolls and other transactions pertinent to the car’s performance.
“It shows an ability to continue to offer disruptive value-added services creating new marketplaces for mobility, energy and finance,” said Riddle & Code CEO and founder Alexander Koppel.
Down the road, the wallet could also aid autonomous vehicles by storing and implementing data to account for relay traffic patterns, meld with civic infrastructure and send out traffic accident reports to enforcers and insurance companies. And while car rental companies might find the innovation a sound acquisition for fleet management purposes, Daimler and Riddle & Code see potential for a great deal of other users in the future, especially when the cryptocurrency market opens up even more.
“We still have a lot of work to do, including the development of pricing models. But once the vehicle becomes an autonomous participant in blockchain trading, it opens an infinite market,” said Ben Schwarz, head of Riddle & Code Communications.