BMW Trials Blockchain to Track Car Mileage

International automobile giant BMW will be trialing a Blockchain platform aimed at tracking mileage in leased vehicles with the use of its startup innovation program.

First revealed in February, the initiative will be done in collaboration with startup DOVU, one of five startups set to partner with BMW Group UK in line with the auto giant’s Innovation Lab project. It was DOVU who developed a system, which seeks to incentivize drivers while logging mileage of leased or borrowed vehicles, with BMW’s fleet manager the Alphabet.

Alex Morris, DOVU’s head of product, elucidated that the concept is that the system helps BMW in understanding how much activity its vehicles are having and the impact these activities have on the automobiles.

Morris further stated that drivers who take part in the activity, receive tokens in exchange for the data they provide, saying:

“What we’re doing is we’re essentially trying to build out this circular economy on the DOVU platform. [Drivers] can earn tokens, but down the line they’ll also be able to spend tokens on services – for example, they might be able to get replacement tires or something like that using the Dovu ecosystem. The partner, in this case BMW, defined the categorization of the reward and that’s defined in a smart contract. As long as the parameters are met for the smart contract, they’ll receive tokens.”

BMW itself has set the parameters for token rewards through mileage since the existing automatic mileage tracking systems are unreliable. The DOVU head added that current tracking systems do not provide information that might actually be useful for the company.

Because of this, the trial project will require drivers of leased or borrowed automobiles to log their mileage on a weekly basis. This data then get stored on DOVU’s Blockchain.

“Right now mileage is the most important factor for the resale value of their vehicles,” Morris stated, adding that, “The problem is quite an important one for them to solve, so when we suggested tokens to incentivize them to do that they were very excited.”

Meanwhile, Max Lomuscio, who serves as DOVU’s community manager, stated that the first part of the partnership, referring to the proof-of-concept, has already been completed. The startup will now be proceeding with the next phase, which is the testing with drivers. He also pointed out that this portion should take an additional 6-8 weeks.

Morris also said that eventually, however, “the plan is to become this kind of ubiquitous rewards system that can work across vehicles, make some kind of unified wallet for token rewards that you can use on your BMW, but maybe jump into your second car and earn more tokens and then spend those throughout the ecosystem.”

Aside from that, he stated that the startup seeks to team up with smart city environments. He added that it has already started talks with a number of cities in order to determine how the earning and spending use cases can be merged into public transit and other aspects of a metropolitan area.

This latest initiative is carried out months after DOVU, which is previously supported by Jaguar’s venture arm, successfully complete a $6 million initial coin offering (ICO).