BMW Blockchain Trial Uses Cryptocurrency Tokens to Improve Mileage Tracking

DOVU, a London, U.K.-based provider of a blockchain-based data marketplace for the transportation industry, recently completed a test with BMW to use ERC-20 tokens and blockchain technology track vehicle mileage, according to a DOVU article posted on Medium.

BMW Leasing Arm Supports Blockhain Pilot
BMW invited DOVU to participate in its innovation lab, which seeks new and disruptive ideas. The 10-week pilot began Jan.15 at the London BMW headquarters.

Three executives from Alphabet, BMW’s leasing and fleet vehicle arm, served as sponsors for DOVU: Nick Brownrigg, chief executive officer, Simon Carr, chief commercial officer, and Leo Taylor, head of product management.

Leasing and finance comprise a large portion of BMW’s profits. Every vehicle that returns over its mileage allowance or is damaged undermines its resale value.

The DOVU team recognized at the start of the test that using tokens to influence customer behavior and the ability to gain access to data via the blockchain were relevant to many aspects of the company’s business.

DOVU met with BMW stakeholders to determine how its DOV tokens could deliver a positive impact on vehicle value. The team identified vehicle mileage as having the most impact on the return value of a vehicle. The higher the mileage, the greater the wear on the vehicle.

Existing Method Prone To Errors

BMW currently tracks vehicle mileage across fleets using fuel cards. This method is prone to typing errors and lack of management oversight, yielding inconsistent and often useless data.

Connected vehicles track such data, but the data tracked by connected vehicles is only used for diagnostic purposes if the car is brought in for service. Accessing this data also requires getting the driver’s permission. Hence, such data via connected vehicles is not readily available to the business. The existing system, meanwhile, requires “vast amounts” of clerical overhead.

An automated method to collect mileage was not available to DOVU for the pilot. Hence, DOVU agreed to allow BMW customers to use a manual approach to track this information in return for token-based rewards. Each week, users were prompted to use their phone cameras to take a picture of their dashboard at a specific time to provide mileage information.

DOVU was able to identify the readings on the dashboard and convert them to an integer that was saved to the blockchain.

The user confirmed the correct data before submitting it, and within a few seconds BMW had a reliable and traceable log of vehicle mileage on a blockchain. Users were rewarded 1 DOV token per submission.

DOVU used gamification methods to encourage repeat reporting, enabling the user to continue earning tokens.

Custom Wallet Released

At the end of the 10-week pilot, DOVU produced a custom wallet for BMW. The wallet, which is available for iOS and Android, allows DOVU to measure how tokenization encourages people to carry out certain tasks.

The first phase of the project ended with a demonstration to senior BMW staff at the Tate Modern in London.

Numerous departments expressed interest in using tokenization to improve their own business areas, DOVU executives said, adding that the startup hopes to continue working with BMW to identify other areas in which blockchain technology can be used to improve its business operations.

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