Toyota launches blockchain lab for verification, supply chain and more

Japanese automotive manufacturing giant Toyota has launched a blockchain lab that will focus on integrating the technology into most of its operations. Known as the Toyota Blockchain Lab, the project has been in the works since April last year. It will integrate blockchain into its verification processes, global supply chain, financial systems and more.

The global automotive industry has evolved rapidly, forcing carmakers to focus on providing more value to their customers. Toyota intends on keeping ahead of its rivals, and with the integration of blockchain, it will allow its customers to “connect more openly under safety and security,” the company said in a press release.

The Blockchain Lab is a collaboration between the Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Financial Services Corporation. It has been undertaking demonstration trials since its formation 11 months ago. It stated, “In the following initiatives focused on customers and vehicles, demonstration trials under specific conditions were completed in November last year, confirming the usefulness of blockchain technology in each use application.”

One of the key application areas for blockchain technology will be in identity verification. Toyota currently requires its clients to verify their identity separately for every service they intend to use. This reduces the chances of fraud and data breaches, but at the same time, it’s quite time consuming. With blockchain, the client will only need to verify his identity once, after which he can share the data in a permissioned blockchain system.

Toyota also plans on applying blockchain in its supply chain management to improve efficiency and traceability. It will record and share information regarding manufacturing, shipping and more on a blockchain-powered network. The company, which is the second-largest automotive manufacturer after Volkswagen, will also record information about its repair parts. This will enable the end user to verify genuine Toyota products.

Toyota intends to record information about its vehicles on the blockchain platform as well. Data to be recorded includes any repairs over a car’s lifetime, its mileage and ownership. This data will make it much easier to accurately value a Toyota vehicle.

Going forward, the company will partner with other industry stakeholders in its project, it revealed, stating, “In addition, with regard to various blockchain platforms around the world, in collaboration with partner companies, we will formulate non-functional evaluation items to accelerate the social implementation of the technology, and accumulate technical knowledge to select a suitable platform for each application.”

Toyota has also revealed that it will integrate blockchain technology in its utopian conceptual city. Known as Woven City, it will be powered by hydrogen and will rely on smart technology. It will be built on a 175-acre land in Japan, on the base of Mount Fuji, with the construction beginning early next year. Artificial intelligence will be central to the city’s operations, Toyota revealed.

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