Problems Arise at Geneva Motor Convention That Blockchain Technology Could Solve
When it comes to blockchain technology, the big appeal is the way that technology remains immutable, transparent, and honest. Developers around the world have continued to look for use cases that will positively show how helpful blockchain can be. According to a new report from Decrypt Media, there might be a problem that the only blockchain could sell.
The problem in question has to do with the Geneva Motor Convention and multiple vehicles showing up as being located in Buckingham in 2036, which the vehicles clearly were not. In a report from Jalopnik, the problem was caused by a hacker that altered the GPS signals of the cars, though the individual responsible for the stunt is still unknown. Some sources believe it could be someone from the Racelogic tech firm, which is located exactly where the Buckingham address is. However, considering how limited the range for Racelogic is (about 30 meters), and the fact that spoofing is illegal, this option is highly unlikely.
Whatever the reason is for the glitch, Decrypt Media suggests that this is a glimpse at the potential “dystopian future” that awaits the public if things like automated cars run exclusively on GPS technology. The signals are not that difficult to falsify, and the devices tied into this technology do not have any way of detecting a fake signal from a real one.
Thinking towards the future, picture a situation that involves self-driving vehicles in Geneva instead. By changing the location in the GPS programming of the car, the car will drive as if it is going through another city, like Buckingham, which clearly does not have the same roads or paths. The fact that this could occur so recently in Geneva is a sign that GPS may not be fit for the current purpose. However, blockchain is.
There are two startups that have the technology already established that could help – FOAM and XYO. FOAM is based in New York, and it has an independent GPS system that is based on low-wave radio signals to establish a location. The information is posted through the Ethereum blockchain, which means that there is no way to spoof that system without substantial computer resources. While FOAM is definitely not a replacement for the GPS, it would allow for the verification of location based on the surrounding signals, which means that this event in Geneva would not be replicated.
XYO’s solution is a little different, creating “sentinels,” which are just portable nodules. The nodules communicate against each other, and can be placed in a vehicle, at a landmark, or anywhere else. Essentially, thousands of devices can communicate amongst each other to find the relative coordinates, rather than the absolute coordinates, in relation to another device. Even if two vehicles are right next to each other, it does not matter if the GPS shows them in any country or city; the proximity to the roads, barriers, and even each other are enough to deter them.
Still, much like anything attached to cryptocurrency, there are skeptics. David Gerard, known for being an opponent of blockchain technology, believes that both of these companies are “bogus,” as Decrypt Media writes. Gerard brought attention to OpenStreetMap (OSM), which is sponsored by Microsoft, acting as “the Wikipedia of maps.” Volunteers participate to keep the project going, and he adds, “The coordination problem would not be fixed better by adding altcoin tokenomics.”
FOAM actually uses some of the information that OSM provides, but it provides an incentive to the individuals that choose to contribute. The operators use cryptocurrency to stake their broadcasts, which offers an incentive that developers have to keep accuracy, which is nothing like what OSM offers. That does not seem to be enough to Gerard, adding that the only advantage they have is paying “penny shavings” for the blockchain work.
At this point, FOAM has not responded to the requests from Decrypt Media for comment.