South Korean city employing blockchain to man self-driving vehicles

A city in in South Korea is developing an identification and verification platform for autonomous vehicles on the blockchain. Sejong City will use blockchain to protect the data generated by the self-driving vehicles, in a bid to give data credibility.

The Sejong City government will turn to blockchain technology to verify and protect digital identities of the self-driving vehicles, according to a report by South Korean outlet Aju Business Daily. It has partnered with the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Korea Internet and Security Agency. The budget for the project stands at 1 billion won ($817,000) and it’s expected to commence in 2021.

The project will bring together a number of tech companies, led by LG CNS, the IT wing of the electronics giant. These companies will develop a decentralized identifier (DID) that will be used by the autonomous vehicles. This will prevent the cloning of these vehicles’ identities through hacking. The DID will have multiple layers of encryption, protecting the data shared between cars and other facilities on the road, such as traffic lights and other vehicles.

“We expect this technology platform to greatly increase the credibility of data by strengthening the security of information shared by cars and their control tower,” the report quotes an official in the Sejong City government.

Sejong City is a planned city whose development started in 2007 and is expected to end in 2030. It has grown to become the de facto administrative capital of the East Asian country. The city has become the testbed for new technologies in South Korea and currently supports some of the most advanced smart city technologies in the world.

Autonomous vehicles are increasingly becoming a key area of focus as technology continues to evolve. Google’s Waymo, GM’s Cruise, Ford’s Argo AI, Tesla and Intel’s Mobileye are some of the leaders in this field. Despite the advances, there are concerns about security, and consequently, safety. If the data generated by the vehicles isn’t sufficiently protected, hackers could infiltrate the systems. They could then cause mayhem at will, such as communicating incorrect traffic light signals which could lead to fatal accidents.

The use of blockchain eliminates the single point of failure, keeping the data secure. As a result, several companies are trialing blockchain solutions for autonomous vehicles. One of the most prominent projects in this sector is the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI). The project brings together several companies including BMW, GM, Ford, Honda and over 30 other companies to integrate blockchain into self-driving cars.

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