The automotive industry has always been an easy prey for committing frauds on second hand vehicles. Some examples include tampering with the readings on odometers, hiding maintenance details as well as accidents' history. When someone is about to buy a used car, he/she cannot help but wonder if that particular car has been stolen in the past or has some hidden bugs. Thus, the question that persists is how can trust be established between car owners and potential buyers.
One of the most convenient approaches would be to use a technology, called blockchain, which has recently gained a lot of popularity for its way of preserving data in form of a registry, resistant to manipulation and at the same time without involving a central authority.
This concept was first introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 as part of the Bitcoin system for electronic transactions that rely on cryptographic primitives instead of trusting a third party. Other than the famous and obvious use case in the financial world, blockchain finds many applications in distributed systems, as all its transactions are cryptographically secured and provide integrity. At Swisscom Digital Lab, we have made a step towards solving the above mentioned problem in the car industry, by creating a proof of concept for keeping track of cars' maintenance history. To our advantage, we would profit in the future from the reliability of the data collected by the AutoSense Dongle devices, like mileage, eco score of driving, warranty etc.
For this project, we are using the ByzCoin Blockchain which has been developed at the DEDIS (Decentralized and Distributed Systems) Lab at EPFL. ByzCoin, together with its CALYPSO framework, provides an extremely secure way of storing and sharing confidential data over a blockchain with dynamic management of access policies and ownership.
Car owners are able to grant access to their car service history to potential buyers in order to increase the value(price) of the car, with the possibility to remove the access if the buyer is no longer interested. Additionally, every read and write transactions are logged and the history of the system cannot be compromised. Furthermore, in case of a successful car sell, the ownership of the car biography can easily be transferred without the need of a central authority.
We believe that this approach can make a big difference in the world of second hand vehicles, where buyers would be confident in their purchase and owners can get the most of their car's value.