The Italian luxury carmaker Alfa Romeo uses non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to securely store vehicle service records, accident reports, and trip logs. Alfa Romeo will use the blockchain to encode and record the history of all these cars. This data can then be sold or rented in controlled exchanges with all parties involved in the blockchain.
Alfa says it's the first carmaker to use blockchain technology to track a vehicle's performance data and securely store it in an NFT format — the same method digital artists and creators use to sell digital assets like images and videos. Alfa Romeo will hold the data on a privately secured blockchain network that is self-maintained.
"This data is valuable," said James Allen, president, and CEO of Alfa Romeo North America, in an interview. "And we believe it should be owned by the people who generate it."
The idea for this project came from a working group led by Allen himself. Last year, he created his group to determine how his business could use blockchain technology. He said his company has been working with blockchain technology company DeeFive for several months on "what we call 'data retention' or 'blockchain-as-a-service.'" He declined to say how much the company has invested in this project but said it's not a tiny amount.
The company announced the technology for its new 'Tonale plug-in' hybrid car, which is part of an attempt to improve the car's resale value and attract environmentally conscious buyers.
Tonale is expected to hit showrooms soon and will feature a 1.3-liter turbocharged petrol engine as well as a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that will allow it to run on electric power alone for short distances — up to 31 miles at speeds of up to 78 mph.
The car will track fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, electricity consumption, and it will store that data on a blockchain. Insurance companies can then use this information to determine premiums based on past driving habits. Additionally, the move will benefit customers by providing them with a "real-time view of the vehicle's maintenance, helping them more easily identify any potential issues.
This feature could help reduce the number of car accidents, leading to lower insurance rates for drivers with good driving records.
It will be exciting to see what other developments Alfa Romeo has in store for its car line, especially sensors. NFTs are just the tip of the iceberg for sensing innovations and could provide exciting opportunities for companies to collect data from their cars. It's something fascinating, and it'll be happening big! We can't wait to see what the future holds!