DAV — A Macro Analysis
A Market Need
A Smart Future
The DAV project foresees a future where autonomous vehicles (AVs) and their services are ubiquitous to society. It envisions a world where automation is universal, and integrated into all vehicles. By introducing smart vehicles, human error would be mitigated and operating costs vastly reduced with the reduction of human control. All services involving transportation would be disrupted, whether it would be the movement of goods or people. The transportation industry would reduce significant expenses, as automation would cut costs in shipping, land transport and air transport; and these savings would be passed on to customers.
In this future, automation would transition personal transportation to more cost effective options like ride sharing of AVs. Consumers need not own their own vehicles. Rather, in this future it would be more cost effective to rent the services of AVs on a cost per use basis.
A Smart Network
AV networks would allow AV owners to fully monetize the value of their vehicles by renting them to a network of AVs. An unified network would acts as a convenient hub, a marketplace, where the services of AV could be bid on by customers.
In this world that DAV envisions, autonomous vehicles will be a pervasive part of the daily lives of billions. A unified network will exist, which would allow consumers to conveniently locate and utilize the services of AVs as well as monetize their value as owners of AVs.
DAV argues that an environment of disparate and centralized autonomous networks, where private companies choose competition over cooperation, would hinder the progress of AV development and reduce the accessibility of AVs — all at the expense of consumers. To create this future of autonomous vehicles, there is then a need for a network that is unified. There must a hub that connects all devices to one community and is open, inspiring collaboration through mutual development.
DAV’s solution is an open source platform that connects all AVs onto one unified network. This platform will be decentralized, leveraging blockchain to enable transparent identity, secure transactions and monetization of AV services and supporting infrastructure. As an open source platform, SDKs and APIs will be created to foster a community of AV development.
The DAV network, could in theory, be used by all autonomous vehicles. From ships, cars, trains, planes, buses and drones (aerial and land). A unified hub gives consumers a convenient access point for AV services. Participation in the network allows autonomous vehicles to monetize their services. Owners (hopefully human) of AVs and AV infrastructure could then reap the benefits of their property by renting the services of their property to DAV network.
5 Components of the “DAV Technology Stack”
- Unique AV identity is logged onto an open decentralized ledger which guarantees security and transparency
- The validity of identity and past performance can be checked against the open history of the blockchain
- Ownership of devices can be hidden such that AV’s are valued purely against past performance
- Transparent immutable ledger allows transaction history to be viewed by all
- Third party arbitrators will be required to settle disputes between buyers and sellers
- Arbitrators will have their own identity and be evaluated by users by past history
- Arbitration could potentially be automated in certain cases. RFID technology is incorporated to determine whether a package has arrived. Owner of that RFID infrastructure acts as an autonomous party that can monetize its arbitration service
- Open ledger allows insurers to enter and provide service on the foundation of universal data
- Peer-to-Peer node system based on Ethererum’s node discovery algorithm
- Each node represents an AV identity
- Allows devices to easily “discover” each other
- Communication can occur on-chain or off-chain
- Unified network built on Ethereum allows on-chain communication through smart contracts
- Peer-to-peer node system for non-smart contract, non-token communication
- Peer-to-peer nodes allows sidechain development such that pre-existing companies can operate their own networks and incorporate them into the open DAV platform
- Communication for services occurs via stages of bidding, service fulfillment, and payment
- Off-chain peer-to-peer transactions, but enforced by on-chain smart contracts. Helps with scalability
- Decentralized ledger enables secure and immutable transactions via blockchain
- DAV will purchase tokens (“incentive tokens”) to subsidize infrastructure growth
Hard Cap — 38 Million USD
- 40% Token Sale
- 25% Bounties and Partnerships
- 20% Long-Term Budget
- 15% Team and Advisors (Vested)
Proceeds of that 40% Token Sale (38 Million USD)
- 45% R&D (17.1 M)
- 20% Expansion (7.6 M)
- 15% Marketing/Business Development (5.7M)
- 10% General Admin (3.8 M)
- 10% Legal/Compliance (3.8M)
Total token supply has yet to be released. When asked, the telegram team replied that further details are to be “released soon”.
DAV is a utility token in the purest sense. It is paid for a service and earned by providing a service.
- by renting out an autonomous vehicle, car/drone/etc.
- by renting use of infrastructure (rechargers/docking bays)
- by providing support services (repair/insurance/arbitration)
- to rent autonomous vehicle services, to transport goods or people/etc
It should be noted that users of token need not be human. In an autonomous future, the smart machines themselves will be able to make purchases/request support service.
Participation in DAV’s network means access to infrastructure like power rechargers/docking bays/etc. Support services like charging, docking, repair and rescue can be paid for in DAV tokens. This provides an economic incentive to invest in and grow the infrastructure as owners will earn DAV for the support they provide to AVs. The DAV network also opens up an opportunity for third parties to earn DAV tokens by providing services that manage counterparty risk. The open ledger aspect, leveraged from blockchain, also provides the opportunity for insurance providers to offer coverage and arbitrators to settle disputes on the basis of an universal and transparent information of the open ledger. Tokens can also be earned by developing on the open source platform and being paid via bounties.
In addition to funding software developers, the DAV foundation plans to incentivize investors to grow its platform by subsidizing the cost of manufacturers, infrastructure and support services. This will be done via the use of “incentive tokens”, which would be bought by the DAV Foundation at market price (to avoid the flood of “free tokens”) and to foster development.
Breaking website convention, DAV advisors are listed ahead of the team. They really emphasize the past experience of their advisors with big name companies/projects such as GM, UPS, SAP, Ethereum, and Bancor.
They also push their ex-NASA astronaut who is an advisor, particularly in their YouTube video. Such tactics seem like a marketing ploy meant to bring flash and stir interest. Regardless, one cannot deny the high quality of people involved, experienced professional who have held high calibre positions across relevant industries.
Notable advisors include Dr. Alan Messer from GM, Samsung and Sony; Astronaut Dr. Scott Horowitz; Software engineer from Google, Nick Johnson; and Eyal Hertzog, co-founder of Bancor.
Dr. Alan Messer: Automotive Advisor
- VP of Software and Innovation & CTO of Global Connect Consumer Experience at General Motors
- VP Head of Advanced Software Technology at Samsung
- Experience with HP and Sony Electronics
- Education: PhD, Distributed Operating Systems
Dr. Scott Horowitz: Aerospace Advisor
- Former NASA astronaut
- President of Doc’s Aerospace LLC
- Education: PhD, Aerospace Engineering
Jay Adelson: Internet Infrastructure Advisor
- Multi-founder of Equinix, Revision3, and Opsmatic
- CEO of Digg, SimpleGeo
- Member of several Board of Directors
- Education: BSc, Film and Broadcasting, Concentration in Computer Science
Dr. Greg Colvin : Technology Advisor
- Core Developer for Ethereum Foundation
- Key Engineer for Ethereum Virtual Machine
- Education: PhD, Quantitative Psychology
Priyanka Khaitan: IoT Advisor
- Head of Emerging Technologies of SAP — Big Data, IoT, Autonomous Agents
- Former Global VP — Strategic Projects & Initiatives at SAP
- Been with SAP since 2000
- Education: Computer Science & Mathematics
Nick Johnson: Blockchain Advisor
- Creator and Chief Developer of Ethereum Name Service
- Founder of Ether Cards
- Software engineer and architect in Ethereum and Google
- Education: BSc, Computer Science
Jerome Ferguson: Autonomy Advisor
- Director of Advanced Technologies at UPS
- Expert with over 31 years in logistics and emerging technologies
- Experience with drones, driverless vehicles, and robotics in supply chains
- Education: MS, Information Technology Management
Eyal Hertzog: Crypto-economics Advisor
- Co-Founder and Product Architect at Bancor
- Founder of MetaCafe and Contact Networks
- Former head of IT with Israeli Defense Forces in Intelligence Unit 8200
Noam Copel — CEO and Founder
- Co-Founder of MetaCafe along with advisor Eyal Hertzog
- Multi-Founder of several startups
- Education: BSc, Computer Science
Tal Ater — CTO and Co-Founder
- Noteworthy point is his recent invitation to the W3C — his GitHub reveals he is working on creating standards on automotive projects with the W3C.
- W3C The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.
- Former VP of Product Management at Somoto Inc.
John Frazer — CCO
- Web, design, and social media marketing experience since 1997
- External Relations Lead for Ethereum Foundation
- Education: MBA
Joe Lopardo — CMO
- Multi-Founder of several crypto startups
- Has over a decade in marketing experience with Contently which boasts of clients such as Google, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP.
The team for DAV form a strong core who are well-versed in blockchain. CEO and Founder, Noam Copel and advisor Eyal Hertzog both founded MetaCafe. Copel is a multi-founder of several startups and is listed as a Security Expert at Blockchain.com — a blockchain explorer. Tal Ater is the CTO and Co-Founder of DAV, and may be the most technically proficient of the team. He was recently invited to work with the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium led by Sir Tim Berners-Lim) on automotive programming.
DAV is listed as a member (DAV Foundation) of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUSVI), which is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering autonomous vehicles and robots. Notable members include Amazon, UPS, FEDEX, Intel, Lockheed Martin, and the list goes on.
Bancor partnership will provide token liquidity via their platform. The co-founder of Bancor is an advisor to DAV.
AmaZiX is a “community management” company which is quickly becoming a customer relations/marketing powerhouse in crypto. They can be found managing the telegram of every other new ICOs.
Blockchain IL is an Israeli consultancy for ICOs.
- Facebook — about 1600 likes
- Twitter — about 2200 followers
- Telegram—about 5600 users
- Reddit — about 240 subs
- Google Trends ,“DAV Network” — sporadic, peaking big recently
- Bitcoin Talk — around 3200 reads
- GitHub — very active
- YouTube — no interviews yet with personalities
Overall social metrics would indicate a project that currently has low awareness, but seems on the cusp of a breakout. An active GitHub indicates very active development by the DAV team.
DAV has 4 major milestones to showcase proof of concept in the near future. It has ambitious targets for this year which should be monitored closely.
MVP #1 — (Q1 2018)
AV will autonomously bid for delivery services, complete them, and get paid using DAV token
MVP #2 — (Q2 2018)
AV will pay for its own battery replacement
MVP #3 — (Q3 2018)
AV will pay robot to complete its delivery service
MVP #4 — (Q4 2018)
Delivery drone flight using rechargeable stations
Other notable dates include Q4 2018, non-autonomous ride hailing service and Q2 2019, in which a decentralized non-autonomous delivery service would be released. When asked on the Telegram about these events, they were unable to further elaborate on the details. Note that the Telegram is managed by AmaZix, who are third-party community representatives. So it was not a core member who replied.
These exact applications are not described in the current white paper. But it seems they could be further proofs of concept for DAV’s platform. It may be they will first ease non-autonomous transportation onto the platform as it may be a long time before we live in full of autonomous vehicles.
DAV necessitates a world where autonomous vehicles are pervasive and regulation/legal framework has been fully developed. It could be some time before we such a world exists.
DAV is attempting to combine a future technology (AVs) with another still in its infancy, blockchain. Though, this could be blessing in disguise as it places DAV at the very forefront of these emerging technologies. Overall, the road to development will likely be one with many challenges, both technological and possibly regulatory.
DAV is an open source project that will rely on others (likely big name companies) to progress AV tech on its open source platform. The AUSVI connection does provide a pre-existing framework for the DAV foundation to communicate with companies like Amazon and UPS who may likely be using AVs on a mass scale in the future.
DAV must foster these relationships. It must ensure its open source platform is the definitive space to develop AVs and bring incompanies who could otherwise opt to create private networks.
IOTA is an infrastructure for all smart devices. It has a broader scope than DAV, which is focused chiefly on autonomous vehicles, so IOTA has the potential to offer a network that is more inclusive than DAV. Entire “smart cities” could be run on IOTA. The question will be if IOTA chooses to focus its resources on AVs specifically.
IOTA is already exploring its own applications for AVs, with considerations for developing infrastructure for AVs like smart charging stations. In terms of corporate partnerships, IOTA is ahead as they have collaborations with the multi-billion automotive manufacturer BOSCH who recently announced they will be trialing IOTA in Autonomous cars.
Can DAV find its own corporate partner? It certainly has a comms-line straight to many huge companies through its AUSVI membership. Commercial entities like UPS, Amazon or Fedex could benefit greatly by integrating with the open ecosystem of development that DAV seeks to build, as could industrial/manufacturing entities like General Electric or Lockheed Martin.
Will DAV be able to fund and fully grow the infrastructure required for a universal AV network? It is only raising $38 million from its crowdsale. The cost of building/incentivizing infrastructure growth could increase exponentially and the attrition of a long development schedule could mean financial hardship for the foundation. If DAV does not receive private/government funding or a corporate partnership, it may depend on the speculative value of its tokens to fund its development.
DAV is an extremely ambitious project with grand goals. Its disruptive potential is astronomical, as it intends to create the autonomous vehicle hub of the future. However, the road to autonomous vehicles could be far away and so the project is certainly a long-term play. What DAV has is a team with exceptional skills and with tons of relevant industry experience. So while the future DAV seeks to serve it not yet here, it does have the personnel and vision to help create this future. Development will be costly and arduous, so it may be essential for DAV to form close partnerships with large corporate entities to survive the journey ahead. Overall, sentiment for this project could be described as “earnestly optimistic”.