Americans could soon be doing cryptocurrency transactions from their vehicles and arriving at their destinations faster. A subsidiary of Dearborn, Mich.-based Ford Motors has been granted a patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for a cryptocurrency-fueled technology to power its cars. It’s called the Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass (CMMP) It was filed in 2016 and was just granted to Ford Global Technologies.
CMMP is a token-based system that operates within its own ecosystem but also out on the open road. It’s a vehicle-to-vehicle or car-to-car communication platform on which — at the request of participating drivers and enabled by GPS technology — cars can talk to one another about traffic patterns. The system would also monitor and collect data on drivers, which during a time when Facebook is being skewered for data sharing could raise some concerns.
“The CMMP system operates with individual token-based transactions, where the merchant vehicles and the consumers’ vehicles agree to trade units of cryptocurrency,” according to the patent.
It gives the consumer vehicle “preferential lane access” during periods of heavy congestion, allowing them to weave in and out of traffic for a price. The patent further explains: “merchant vehicles voluntarily occupy slower lanes of traffic to facilitated the consumer vehicle to merge into their lanes and pass as needed.”
Merchant vehicles are paid in CCMP tokens for giving the consumer vehicle the right of way. The price depends on the time advantage that the consumer vehicle is requesting.
The patent application explains –
“For example, a driver of a consumer vehicle which is running late for an appointment may request to pass any participating merchant vehicles for a duration of 10 minutes on a particular road or highway for 60 CMMP tokens, at a rate of 10 seconds preferential access per token.”
It doesn’t say whether other cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin or XRP, will also be supported.
Ford’s Tech Push
It sounds like a project that could be part of a startup’s ICO, but Ford, which has committed to invest USD 11 billion in electric vehicles by 2022, doesn’t mention any fundraising plans. It’s also invested heavily in mobile and is pouring more than USD 1 billion into artificial intelligence over the next half-decade.
A token-fueled system is a logical step in its push toward what CEO Jim Hackett described as “smart vehicles in a smart world.” Hackett has been at the helm of the automaker for less than a year and was brought on to bolster Ford’s tech profile.
Meanwhile, automakers have demonstrated an interest in blockchain technology already, with Ford last year looking to hire an engineer with blockchain experience in mobile technology and Toyota partnering with blockchain startups.