The Chief Digital Officer of Volkswagen has announced a collaborative effort between the IoT-focused IOTA blockchain project and vehicle manufacturer, promising the cryptocurrency community a proof of concept that demonstrates the future of distributed ledger technology in the automotive industry.
Johann Jungwirth announced the upcoming demonstrated via Twitter, stating that Volkswagen will work with the IOTA team to illustrate the use of the tangle to distribute trusted vehicle software over-the-air.

One Small Step Towards IOTA’s Autonomous Machine Economy

IOTA’s dream of a fully autonomous machine economy in which IoT devices can communicate and transact with each other via the tangle references the context of self-driving vehicles. Earlier this year, the IOTA team announced the successful operation of the world’s first vehicle charging station at which charging and paying utilize IOTA.

IOTA’s upcoming demonstration with Volkswagen, which will occur on Tuesday, June 12 at the Cebit 2018 conference in Hanover, will present a panel discussion entitled “Blockchain in Future Mobility.” The core goals of the IOTA/Volkswagen project is the establishment of a process that facilitates secure over-the-air updating of vehicle software via an immutable storage medium.

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The importance of data integrity when it comes to vehicles can’t be understated — the FBI warned consumers as early as 2016 of the danger of malicious parties exploiting vehicle software. More recent data released by the SANS Institute Infosec Reading Room demonstrates that it’s possible to inject malicious code into vehicle software updates, disabling or interfering with power steering, applying brakes at any speed, overriding acceleration, and even tighten the driver’s seatbelt.

Vehicle security vulnerabilities via SANS Institute

Jungwirth, who currently works as Volkswagen’s Chief Digital Officer as well as operating as a member of the Supervisory Board of the IOTA Foundation commented on the importance of blockchain technology in data-sensitive industries:

“Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT) are crucial for the future of trusted transactions. IOTA has great potential to become a DLT leader with the Tangle approach.”’

Interestingly, the same report references a two-year legal battle between Volkswagen and a team of European security researchers that identified and attempted to publish the details of a security flaw present within the Volkswagen remote keyless vehicle entry system. Volkswagen tried to shut down the researchers, using litigation as a method of keeping security flaws under wraps.

Volkswagen’s latest work with the IOTA project, however, will see the automotive manufacture push for “transparency and digital trust with customers, authorities, and third parties” by using the immutable nature of the IOTA blockchain to implement software updates and, in future, provide customized services such as usage-based insurance.

Cover Photo by Fabian Grohs on Unsplash

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