BMW is now making use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency rewards to set up a better system of tracking mileage - something that has been troubling the automobile industry for quite some time now. BMW's Innovation Lab is working in association with cryptocurrency startup DOVU, providing tokenized incentives in the form of DOV cryptocurrency tokens - an ERC 20 token developed by DOVU. Together, the two ran a pilot project which has been deemed a success. 

Of late, the automobile industry has been looking at the blockchain technology for various innovations. Taking things to the next level, last week, a group of top car-makers came together to form the MOBI Consortium which aims at integrating blockchain technology in cars! Let us take a detailed look at the challenge faced by BMW and how DOVU used blockchain tech to solve it. 

The Challenge: Tracking the Mileage

The startup stated that preserving the residual market values of leased vehicles is an important factor for BMW as this is where the company makes most of its money. Mileage is an important factor, yet one which has inadequate data! DOVU worked with BMW towards solving this challenge. 

The existing system to track mileage on BMW cars is with the use of a fuel card, where the fuel station enters mileage details while the car is being refuelled. However, there are a number of challenges that this system faces - ranging from mistyped numbers to negligence. This data has been termed as inconsistent and even useless by DOVU. There is a strong case for automation of the collection of mileage data - but there is no such system in place. 

The Solution: Crypto-Rewards Based Incentives

Automation continues to be a struggle because smart-cars are yet to be mainstream. However, the startup relied on a manual technique aided by cryptocurrency incentives. DOVU tested a pilot project where they were providing crypto-rewards to drivers as an incentive for tracking their mileage data using the DOVU wallet. Users would have to install the DOVU Wallet app on their phones, which would prompt them to click a picture of their dashboard at a specific time.

Making use of OCR and Machine Learning technologies, a log of mileage could be generated within seconds - which is recorded on a blockchain platform and can easily be accessed by BMW. A smart-contract based system was made use of - and the users who underwent this rewards program were awarded 1 DOV per picture. DOVU commented on this saying:

“Using gamification and encouragement through streaks we made repeat use desirable by earning more tokens for maintaining regular use. By the end of the initial ten-week programme, we had produced a custom wallet for BMW, co-branded with the Alphabet visual branding. The app was distributed internally via our enterprise accounts with versions available for iOS and Android users and the pilot continues to run so we can keep measuring how tokenisation can encourage people to carry out certain tasks or influence their behaviour.”

Blockchain in the Automobile Industry 

It is not uncommon to hear of blockchain systems being used across the automobile sector of late. A number of major car-makers, most notably Porsche and Ford have been testing out blockchain based solutions for automobiles! BMW joins the list with this new test project which aims at creating a better mileage tracking system.

In the past, we saw Porsche testing out their blockchain integrated application which would allow easy locking/unlocking of cars. This was followed by a new Ford patent which saw car-to-car payments being made using cryptocurrencies. This is an interesting time for the automobile sector as blockchain-led innovations widen the scope of what cars can do!