A patent issued to Ford by the USPTO indicates that the Detroit-based car-maker is seeking to use cryptocurrency to enable vehicles on the road to communicate with each other and ease traffic.
Ford blockchain patent, granted to Ford Global Technologies LLC for “Apparatus and methods” is designed to facilitate “vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic”, according to a document published by the USPTO.
It claims to alleviate traffic congestion by synchronizing the speeds of individual vehicles in a traffic roadblock. Upon encountering congestion, the vehicles communicate with each other using a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, and form a platoon. They then position themselves and travel at constant speeds, thereby easing traffic congestion.
Notably, the patent describes a “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass (CMMP) system” which leverages cryptocurrency to facilitate messaging between vehicles. CMMP tokens are used to enable communication in the CMMP system. The document states:
“The CMMP system operates with individual token-based transactions, where the merchant vehicles and the consumers’ vehicles agree to trade units of cryptocurrency (sometimes referred to as ‘CMMP tokens’). The CMMP tokens are used to validate and authorize a transaction in which, at consumer vehicles’ request, the merchant vehicles either occupy slower lanes of traffic themselves or allow the consumer vehicle to merge into their own lane and pass as necessary. The participating merchant vehicles gain CMMP tokens from the consumer vehicle.”
Additionally, Ford intends to have the CMMP tokens function as a credit system to allow vehicles that are in a hurry to pass other vehicles by paying them.
“In some examples, the time allotted to the request of the consumer vehicle is based on the number of CMMP tokens chosen by the consumer vehicle to be spent at that particular time. 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”, the patent’s author writes.
Ford’s use case for cryptocurrency is an innovative one, and it remains to be seen if its CMMP system will work.