Self-driving Cars, Bitcoin and Business OpportunitiesNovember 26, 2016
One of the biggest technologies that have the possibility to change the way everyday life functions comes from the domain of automated road vehicles. Currently, a cornerstone of the modern society is the ability to both commute and transport goods using land vehicles. But, with the power of emerging technology, it looks like that the same area will soon reach a turning point and offer machines that can, for the first time in history, drive themselves inside of the regular traffic system.
This might sound like one of those things that sound like they belong in a science fiction story, but as of now, the technology is steadily entering a phase where it is mature enough for direct and real-world applications. As this takes place, there are both those who are worried about the implications of the change and those who are working outside of the industry on ways how the change could be built into a business model.
In the mix, bitcoin stands as one of those possibilities that might not be the most prominent but certainly allows for an interesting set of options. As the tech of autonomous vehicles advances, here are some facts about the process and how it could benefit the bitcoin community.
The Constant Improvement of Road Traffic
Before the invention of the modern internal combustion engine, the nature of transport relied very little on the road network. Just a century and a half ago, the roads were something that was both unstable and used by people traveling either on foot or with the use of animals. Mass transport took place on the waterways and later, on the railways of most nations. However, all of this changed with the end of the 19th century when the modern vehicles were created.
As these machines took to the open roads and the streets of the world, an entirely new ecosystem of inventions and businesses grew around them. The main change happened on the roads themselves which started to become better and better. But, the changes also covered areas like fuel development, safety systems and logistics of mass road-based transits setups.
In the second decade of the 21st century, the situation has changed in the sense that the IT branches of the industry seem to be making most prominent advances. The transport industry, however, is very apt in applying the things that are available for their benefit so the computerization of cars and trucks began more than 20 years ago. Now, its steering and control is under the creative hammer and it seems that the results could be completely world-changing.
The shift to driverless vehicles will not occur in a single year or even in a spate of years. The process of introducing these vehicles in the real traffic is exceedingly complicated, but it is ongoing, so there is no doubt that it will occur in the near future. Like the evolution of eSports and the way their role will become more prevalent in the future, the process is valid, even though it is not certain in the sense of predefined dates when all of this will take place.
But, because of this certainty, the amount of money, time and general business-related energy that is being invested is staggering. Currently, practically all of the major companies in the tech domain of the Silicon Valley are working on some form of driverless application, either as a direct addition to the actual vehicles ecosystem, or something that can be used as its extension in some form or another.
While blockchain as a general technology could have its applications in the first of the two mentioned domains, for example for some form of tracking which parts of the driverless system are handshaking and communicating with one another, it is the secondary sphere of development where bitcoin stands to have a big chance.
Uber and its smaller competitor Lyft are companies that have been able to disrupt the process of transport on a level of taxi services. However, when it comes to their financial aspects, they and everyone else who is operating a similar shame is still a very much traditional company. This comes from the idea that Uber only simulates a peer-to-peer business model but still acts as a gatekeeper between those who provide services and those who purchase them.
But, with the addition of driverless cars and bitcoin, the paradigm can change drastically and not in the distant future either. Even today, all new Tesla Motors vehicles come with an embedded system for driverless navigation that is fully operational. A vehicle like this takes the driver out of the equation, while bitcoin could take Uber out of it as well. Instead of having any type of a gatekeeper, a user-end application based on bitcoin could be utilized for direct payments of a ride, while the vehicle itself could provide the ride autonomously.
With this, the concept of fleets of driverless vehicles that are expected in the future can become morphed into millions of “fleets” with only one car in them. The same car could be all that small business needs – its owner would only be required to set up a payment and order app (which could be mass produced by any bitcoin development company) and the rest will be completed by the BTC network and the car itself.
The core concept for this idea is valid in the sense that the bitcoin is used today for a range of things, covering betting online, shopping, sending gifts and many more things. There is no reason why others would not use it to pay rides with BTC.
But, the same will not simply come to fruition without any input from the interested parties within the cryptocurrency domain. Instead of a passive role, the bitcoin community, which has so far stayed on the sidelines of the development of the driverless vehicles, must become involved. This must include both the topics of direct blockchain applications and the preparation of the FinTech domain that could open up with these vehicles hitting the streets on a massive scale.
If there is no adequate effort or dedication, some other digital currency will find a place next to the growth of these new transport technologies and at the same time, take the benefits of that position.