Porsche is working to introduce what it calls “transparent and tamper-proof” technology to improve the security of its vehicles.
Called blockchain, it was invented as the backbone to digital currency Bitcoin so that payments can be made without having to wait for the authorisation of traditional banks.
Data is stored on multiple computers across a network, and when a new transaction or exchange of information is requested, the data is checked by the computers. If they all see that the information is correct the transaction is authorised, but if anything has been tampered with – for example, by a hacker trying to trick the network – the other computers will see the data doesn’t match and will refuse the exchange.
A number of companies are adopting this philosophy for use outside digital currencies, with Microsoft announcing that it was looking at using the technology to secure digital identity data.
Now Porsche has teamed up with blockchain start-up company Xain to use it in its cars. For example, owners can lock and unlock their car via a phone app, with tests indicating it takes just 1.6 seconds using blockchain – six times faster than before. It also means drivers can securely receive temporary access to vehicles, which could become useful as ride-sharing becomes more prevalent.
Oliver Döring, financial strategist at Porsche, said: “We can use blockchain to transfer data more quickly and securely, giving our customers more peace of mind in the future, whether they are charging, parking or need to give a third party, such as a parcel delivery agent, temporary access to the vehicle.
“We translate the innovative technology into direct benefits for the customer.”
Porsche is also looking for new opportunities from blockchain technology. It says the ability for autonomous vehicles to gather localised data and share it securely with other vehicles could let customers make use of constantly updating services without fear of getting hacked.