Auto Giants’ New “Blockchain” Game

Elastos Community
Apr 7, 2018 · 10 min read

Elastos in vehicles

Recently, Shanghai Automobile Group, the largest automobile manufacturer in China, commissioned the Elastos tech team to implement Elastos applications in the in-vehicle central control system. Through Elastos’ blockchain technology, the user’s identification can be verified and other subsystems in the vehicle will be connected and controlled. Thus, a unified software development platform for smart cars will be built. They hope to solve the issues of the in-vehicle system with the help of Elastos’s cross-platform capability, security features and software development model oriented to component programming.

The entire research project has four parts:

  • Vehicle central control panel: Vehicle central control system. TI large screen tablets will be used as the hardware solution and Elastos 5.0 OS will be used as the software solution.
  • Automotive controller: The driving simulation control system will include the control of the front wheels, rear wheels, and the brake. Raspberry Pi will be used as the hardware solution and linux+Elastos Runtime SDK will be used as the software solution.
  • High-performance computer: It will simulate the driving AI computing platform. In this demo, it’ll mainly be used for real-time recognition and analysis processing based on video streaming. High-performance PC with 1070 graphics cards will be the hardware solution, and Ubuntu+elastos Runtime SDK will be the software solution.
  • User’s cellphone: An unused native Android phone that simulates the user’s own mobile phone, communicating and controlling the in-vehicle system through the cellphone app. Software: Android 6.0 + Elastos Runtime SDK
System configuration demo
System architecture

Elastos Runtime SDK is a lightweight development package that can be easily ported to different operating systems, providing unified CAR programming interfaces based on RPC. Software developers don’t need to care about the details of underlying communications, details of authentication, and the how to provide service through the package interfaces.

To prove the availability of Elastos, Elastos Tech Team has carried out a series of transplantations and transformations.

  1. First, the Elastos 5.0 operating system has been transplanted to the TI big screen tablets. Familiar images can be seen in the in-vehicle tablets.

2. The main goal is to verify the software system, so a toy car was used for the testing demo. Raspberry Pi was connected to the control circuit of the toy car to control the front wheels, rear wheels, steering and braking of the toy car.

3. In order to verify that the vehicle AI system can be supported, a high-performance PC and a Nvidia 1070 graphics card were used as the AI computing platform. By adding the Elastos Runtime SDK to the image recognition application, the identification program can get the video stream sent by the toy car in real time and make instant judgments. When there’s a “person” in the way, it can control the brake right away.

4. A standard Android app was implemented to remotely control the vehicle via P2P networks and stream real-time videos captured by the in-vehicle cameras. The app also has a built-in Elastos Runtime SDK that allows it to penetrate the network and control the vehicle directly through the Raspberry Pi in the vehicle.

Blocking the underlying implementation details. Through the advanced packaged interfaces, the underlying detail, including the control signal, anti-lock, braking force recovery, can be blocked. It’s as simple as remotely control a toy car. Based on such a simplified interface, it’s easy to build larger and more complex applications without having to worry about implementing details.

Blocking network structure details. In the preliminary research project, there are four subsystems. They are remotely invoked and accessed between one another based on Elastos CAR. Developers do not need care about details like data blocking, breakpoint continuation, and request answering. They only need to invoke and pass the parameters based on the upper interfaces. RPC calls across the network can even be accomplished through the Elastos carrier. For example, the user’s mobile phone data network can be used to remotely control the vehicle through Raspberry Pi in the in-vehicle network. Based on the underlying communication mechanisms, the difference between remote and local can be blocked. Therefore, developers don’t need to worry about where the service is located, instead, they can just go ahead and use it.

Trustworthy identification. Through checking the identity through establishing the communication connection, the user’s identity can be verified, so each subsystem can determine if the user is authorized to do the corresponding operation. Currently, it’s implemented through the Elastos carrier. After the Elastos ID service chain gets completed, it’ll be upgraded to do the identification through the blockchain ID.

It took about 3 months to port Elastos 5.0 to the TI tablet. And it only too less than a month to develop the demo apps on other platforms. Currently, the demo system has passed SAIC’s acceptance check. And the next phase of the research and development program is ready to be launched.

Elastos Shanghai Team is working on the acceptance check of the SAIC program

Automobile + Blockchain — Automatic Driving & Smart Cars

Today, automobile + blockchain in automatic driving and smart cars have become more and more possible. Accordingly, automobiles have become more and more electrical. One car can contain over 10 or even dozens of embedded systems. And the vehicle’s brain — the in-vehicle AI, needs to control them simultaneously, simulating human responses and actions. We can only imagine the difficulty and complexity.

How to develop large-scale and highly complex intelligent apps when facing different suppliers and different OS types? Even if we only look at the angle of software engineering, it’s a big test. Engineers have to do software development for over 10 types of environment, involving different languages, different instructions, different protocols, let alone the appropriate hardware characteristics and tuning.

Meanwhile, a car is not like a camera, a router, or a speaker at home. If a car that’s networked gets attacked or manipulated, people’s lives will be put in danger. Any tiny loophole or failure can cause massive damages.

To recap, if we want to put smart cars into commercial use, the following issues have to be solved:

1. Simplify the multi-platform development mode and model. To achieve large-scale software development, we must be able to block the details and do high-level composition and programming of the software module. To put it simply, all kinds of complex modules should be put together into different shapes like Lego blocks.

2. Secure and reliable communication links. If a self-driving car or smart car can’t allow the user to access and send instructions through the cellphone and receive traffic updates and weather forecasts, how can we call it a smart car? Simply put, if a cellphone can’t be connected to the network, how can it be called a smartphone? This requires a secure and reliable network link to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, DNS tampering, eavesdropping, and so on.

3. The capability of simple and reliable identification. Smart cars are like smartphones, once they are smart enough to know a lot of the owner’s “secret”, no one would like the cellphone to be pried into. Just as the identification method of a cellphone is constantly being upgraded, vehicles also need a simple and convenient method of identification to protect the private data based on the identity.

When Cars Meet Elastos

These problems seem to be solved when cars meet Elastos. Smart cars will definitely enter people’s lives, and the safety when driving fast will be the most important thing to pay attention to. Song Shijun, the director of Elastos Shanghai Team, claimed that in the future, Elastos will focus on exploring and experimenting applying blockchain technology in the automobile industry. As the Elastos blockchain technology gradually improved itself in 2018, they will focus more on the blockchain application on the basis of this project.Such as:

1. User identification

As mentioned earlier, intelligence must be based on the recognition of people. To service good people, it has to distinguish the good from the bad without disclosing personal privacy. So in the next stage, Elastos’ ID service chain will be used in the in-vehicle fields, which will enable the users to use services like car rental, taxi, and car driving.ID verification will be implemented to verify the user’s identity and prevent camouflage and scam, which will ensure the safety.

2. Data security and use authorization

When the car is in use, a large amount of data will be generated. The data can also generate a variety of business values. For example: Record the vehicle’s driving condition through a driving data recorder, then the insurance premium discount can be calculated based on the driver’s driving habit. But we need to ensure the device not to be “hacked” or counterfeited through physical methods. Blockchain can help deposit the data more conveniently and prevent it from being tampered. At the same time, the data no longer belongs to the manufacturer of the driving data recorder. Instead, it belongs to the user. The user can authorize one or more insurance companies to read the data so the owner of the data can have full ownership of the it.

3. Supply chain finance

The production process of automobiles is a process that involves lots of assets and consumes huge amounts of capital. If the blockchain can run through the process from ordering the car to picking up the car, the financial pressure of all aspects of the chain will be reduced. For example,

The user obtains the special-purpose loan issued by the bank, which will be registered on the blockchain;

The user orders a new car from the manufacturer, which will be registered on the blockchain.

The manufacturer sends the purchase order based on their automobile orders, which will be registered on the blockchain.

The supplier purchases the raw material according to the purchase order, which will be registered on the blockchain.

The raw material suppliers provide materials, which will be registered on the blockchain.

After the production completes and the new car is handed over by the manufacturer to the user, which will be registered on the blockchain.

The bank disburses the remaining funds to the manufacturer and suppliers at all levels, which will be registered on the blockchain.

During any stage of the whole process, financing and collateral loan can be applied for based on the orders/purchase orders on the blockchain. The creditor’s rights can also be purchased, transferred, and used to repay the debt. Blockchain makes the entire supply chain transparent and credible. It can reduce the cost of credit rating and raise the efficiency of the credit rating, allowing the economy to rotate faster and more efficiently.

4. Car Sharing

Bicycle sharing, room sharing, and car sharing are all considered as forms of public financing. Multiple users pay for the same item and use it in turn. The internet can help us find a group of people who share the same needs and preferences with us and let us share the cost.

Just imagine, when we get together a group of 20 to rent a car, each person will purchase a car rental warrant, and the manufacturer will manufacture a self-driving car and put it in the market after receiving the full fund. This car can automatically serve all the users who hold the warrants. Of course, there are more than one car like this in the market. There are probably many of them. When it hits a certain scale, such as Evcard’s scale, it’ll be convenient for users who hold the warrant to rent the car. If any user wants to quit, he/she can trade the car-rental warrant on the market. During every resell, the manufacturer can charge a certain amount of processing fee to pay for the maintenance, service and replacement of the cars.

Manufacturers will only need to manufacture vehicles based according to the crowd-funding situation. The vehicle can automatically serve the users through its self-driving software. Every participant’s rights and interests will be protected through the smart contract. And the right to use and ownership can also be freely circulated and transferred.

By aggregating information and people through the Internet, and connecting consumers, investors, and manufacturers through the blockchain, information, capital, and commodities can circulate efficiently. The cost will be brought down and every participant will benefit and profit from it.

Conclusion

Self-driving cars and smart cars mean way more than a simple technological advance. They can fundamentally change people’s travel mode and car using habits, which will revolutionize the travel field. Compared internet age with PC age, mobile internet age with traditional internet age, the new always trumps the old. Can traditional automobile giants maintain their positions? What angle will the emerging upstarts attack from? Let’s wait and see.

Original Source in Chinese: http://www.bitett.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=24687

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Elastos is the world's first Internet operating system focusing on re-decentralizing the Internet with blockchain to secure identity. https://www.elastos.org/

ELASTOS

ELASTOS

Elastos Official Blog

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