Porsche, the German auto manufacturer, is investing big in new technologies over the next five years. The company is putting $176 million into startups focused on blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).
Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman and Member of the Executive Board for Finance and IT at Porsche AG, said, “Porsche has always been among the pioneers of the automotive industry. To date, innovation has been driven to a large degree by technology and with strong links to our current core competencies. In some cases, the changes that are now becoming necessary are linked to topics beyond our main fields of expertise. With this in mind, it is essential that we build a strong ecosystem with competent partners.”
Earlier this year, Porsche began introducing blockchain technology to some of its vehicles. Blockchain is a fast, secure way to transfer data and facilitate financial transactions. The company is using blockchain to control the locking and unlocking of vehicles from a mobile app, to allow temporary operation of vehicles by non-owners, to boost encrypted data logging functions, and, eventually, to improve autonomous driving functions.
Porsche is collaborating on blockchain use with XAIN, a startup that won the auto manufacturer’s Innovation Contest. According to a news release, “interdisciplinary teams from across Porsche worked in collaboration with XAIN over the course of three months to develop and test applications. Blockchain was introduced into the Porsche Panamera using an energy-efficient mining process from XAIN. In addition, Porsche is currently working on further applications for the technology, including in the areas of charging and parking.”
Berlin-based XAIN is a developer of solutions based on blockchain, AI, and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, with a particular focus on intelligent industrial applications.
Porsche plans on using artificial intelligence to analyze “swarm data” collected from blockchain-enabled vehicles. The data will be used to improve navigation and decrease the risk of accidents especially for autonomous vehicles. The data will include real-time road and traffic conditions and will be analyzed in real-time by machine learning.
Besides its partnership with XAIN, Porsche is investing in other startups, including: Gapless, which, according to the Porsche news release, “allows customers to digitally manage their vintage vehicles, including the entire vehicle history, and share this information with other users in a secure format that prevents forgery”; as well as WayRay, a Zurich-based company that “develops and produces holographic augmented reality head-up display technologies and is working on the ability to seamlessly integrate virtual objects into the driving experience.”