Ford has recently been awarded a new patent suggesting the U.S. automaker is looking to implement a token-based system to allow cars on the road to communicate with each other. This car-to-car cooperation is intended to reduce traffic as well.
The patent, named “vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic,” was published Tuesday and awarded to Ford Global Technologies, LLC. A major focus of the patent is developing vehicle cooperation to alleviate traffic congestion.
The patent stated:
Traffic congestion occurs when one or more lanes of a multilane road are blocked, for example, because of a construction or an accident. The blocked lanes reduce the flow rate of vehicles through the section of the road with the blocked lanes. The reduced flow is compounded due to the psychology of human drivers who focus on their individual travel time preferences.
The patent discussed the use of crypto tokens to help facilitate the car-to-car communication and promote the flow of traffic with a “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass” (CMMP) system. 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 patent further stated how these peer-to-peer driver interactions will help the flow of traffic:
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 vehicle 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. 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.
According to the patent, the token payments would act as an on-the-road credit and a mediator between drivers in the proposed system.
Although Ford hasn’t been straightforward with its plans for implementing blockchain technology, this patent indicates that it’s at least on their radar. A report from last July by Trustnodes further illustrated the vehicle manufacturer’s interest in blockchain with a blockchain-focused job posting that stated: “We are looking for a strategic thinker and researcher to lead and pioneer work in the branch of Blockchain technology applied to mobility use cases that would help deliver superior user experiences for our customers.” The listing is no longer available.