Autonomous driving, transparent ad campaigns, car insurance, car sharing – Toyota is exploring potential blockchain use cases. The company has teamed up with several blockchain startups and aspires to take the technological lead.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota is testing blockchain applications. The technology has also caught the attention of several other automobile giants such as Ford, Daimler and General Motors. The race for the blockchain lead in the automobile industry is on.

Toyota has teamed up with MIT’s Media Lab and several blockchain startups to explore different business use cases. The company has already launched several innovative projects, mostly aiming at improving the safety of autonomous vehicles and fraud reduction.

Data access can improve autonomous driving

Access to reliable data about driving behavior is a cornerstone of developing safe autonomous automobiles.

“Hundreds of billions of miles of human driving data may be needed to develop safe and reliable autonomous vehicles,” said Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services at Toyota’s research institute.

“Blockchains and distributed ledgers may enable pooling data from vehicle owners, fleet managers, and manufacturers to shorten the time for reaching this goal, thereby bringing forward the safety, efficiency and convenience benefits of autonomous driving technology.”

Toyota is working on a blockchain-based application that allows for information sharing between autonomous cars and road networks. The data is being shared via a network of independent nodes, so the transaction is secure and the privacy of the data is granted.

Enhanced transparency improves digital ad campaigns

Toyota has also announced a partnership with the blockchain advertising analytics company Ludicity and advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. This initiative aims at improving transparency in Toyota’s digital ads campaigns.

The automotive industry spent US$ 15 billion on digital advertising in 2018 in the U.S. alone. Most advertisers face issues with fraudulent publishers and apps faking their website traffic in order to sell more ad space. Considering the massive market size, this can cause significant losses.

Ludicity’s platform can identify discrepancies that arise from suspicious activities such as bot traffic or domain spoofing and flag potentially fraudulent websites.

This allows Toyota to shift its advertisement budget to high-performing websites. As a result of using the new technology, Toyota has experienced a 21% uplift in ad performance.

“The ability to have access to a transparent, clean set of data from across the programmatic supply chain is game-changing. We’re empowered to take action, and this is the first time we’ve been able to use blockchain technology to eliminate waste and optimize our ad buy in this way,” says Tom Scott, Media Director at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Toyota has more in the making

Toyota started a cooperation with Los Angeles-based blockchain app developer Gem, which has been developing applications for the healthcare insurance industry. The goal is to use a similar technology to develop blockchain-based car insurance applications. Gem’s distributed technology collects data from different inputs that can be used to automate and speed up the insurance claim process.

Besides that, Toyota is working with Oaken Innovations from Dallas and Commuterz from Tel Aviv to develop blockchain-based car sharing, carpooling, vehicle access and payments solutions.

The above examples show that Toyota is working on a wide range of different solutions, aiming at creating an entire blockchain-based mobility ecosystem. So far, all of these projects are still early stage, but the cooperation with Ludicity has proven so successful that Toyota wants more.

“We are in discussions to take it to the next step and [test] further with additional campaigns for a longer period of time,” says Nancy Inouye, media director at Toyota Motor North America. “We feel that if we go longer we would see stronger results.”

Toyota is aiming for the pole position in the race for blockchain innovation in the automobile industry. This will encourage others to follow the lead. Exciting times ahead.


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