Autonomous electric vehicles and the 2.0 blockchain: Ethereum or IOTA

The concept Autonomous electric car sharing was first published by the innovation division of the German energy giant RWE – Innogy
in December of 2016. Since then, it took more than a year, the breakthrough hasn’t happened yet, but work is progressing and the company is not without reason proud of the results.

Thus, at the beginning of 2018 Innogy operates more than 2 200 2 400 commercial and corporate charging stations in 635 cities and communities of Germany. And although plans for a unified network of chargers that are managed bloccano, have not yet emerged from the experimental stage, now charging station is networked with third-party services. For example, is a smart system of load management, which helps the user to systematize charge in accordance with the routes, the tariffs for electricity and the individual needs of the user.

With regard to organizational matters, the author of the concept of Plug Carsten (Carsten Stöcker) left Innogy and became the co-founder of Spherity, which is developing an open decentralized platform for the maintenance of «digital doubles» of real objects. The first use of the new platform should be a system providing exchange of values between self-objects: a continuous flow of transactions and the creation of digital doubles. Plug spoke about his work in an article published on the portal of the newspaper Ibtimes.

As the transformation of electric vehicles in intelligent Autonomous vehicles, they have the task of consumer choice. Such machines are considered as a new class of buyers with their basic needs, and products and services intended for them should be developed in accordance with the characteristics of this class.

Spherity is creating a new infrastructure based on a combination of blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence and machine learning. New customer class is illustrated by the representation of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which compares human and machine needs.

At the base of Maslow’s pyramid of human needs such as food, air and water correspond to the native physiological needs: energy, heating/cooling, consumables, external data feeds, external computer power, and other services. For most native physiological needs requires a continuous flow of the medium: electricity or fuel, network connection, data streams in real time, access to maintenance or insurance services on schedule, the digital API. In exchange for this stream machine provides a counter-stream, or the digital asset. This type of continuous transactions between two or more machines called «the Flow of Supply» (AFP).

The concept of AKI, in addition to communications between machines can be applied in the transactions of man – machine, as well as in mixed groups consisting of cars and people.

From the outset, the concept of AKI involves the use of the technology of the blockchain, and as options are considered Ethereum or IOTA, perhaps, along with technology payment Saidjanov Raiden/µRaiden or even experimental payment channels IOTA flash. Plug believes that the first practical application will be the charging of electric vehicles: electricity in exchange of cryptocurrency tokens between the charging station and the electric vehicle. The platform can be deployed on a network of charging stations Pan-European CV – joint project of the company and innogy SE Motionwerk GmbH. If successful, the technology will find application in many different options.

The developers note that the technology of the blockchain is not the only possible option. Parallel paper and digital transactions in databases, such as BigchainDB, as well as hybrid solutions. The final decision will be made later.

The Flow Of Supply

In today’s world of Fiat currencies are the most liquid asset because they can be exchanged for goods and services instantly with no loss of value, besides no need to wait until there is a buyer of cash (no need to choose between speed and price of the service).

However, the transfer of assets is done through a third-party financial services, including banks serving currency. Therefore, in the case of OPP, this method ineffective: there are intermediaries, and processing consists of discrete steps. In a world where machines need a system of streaming in P2P exchange of values, attempts to adapt the conventional methods of payments through an intermediary in the system of micropayments between billions of machines will not lead to success.

Here is a set of typical requirements for a streaming method of payment:

  • Privacy of transactions

  • Direct transactions between unknown objects (there are no arbitrators and legal contracts)

  • Easy connectivity – Plug-and-Play

  • Minimal credit risks

  • Negligible transaction fees

  • Scalability

  • Secure cryptographic protocols

  • Resistance to splitting – offline transactions between machines

  • Automated services discovery

  • From the list that now P2P system that satisfies all these requirements is missing, although the demand is huge. However, potential opportunities have future iterations of Ethereum and IOTA. Therefore, they participate in further consideration.

    OPP on the Ethereum

    Conventional logic smart contracts similar to the discrete payment system with participation of the intermediary Bank. There is an escrow account into which the purse of the electric car makes a Deposit. Further, after authentication, the station, guided by the meter readings, invoices, and payment tokens (for example, crypto-USD/EUR/YEN). Thus, to account for requirement No. 8, will have to include in the system the channel TEE (Trusted execution environment) (adapted to the Ethereum network), which allows you to make a payment when one or more participants in a transaction are offline. This TEE must be registered on the blockchain and have it’s own escrow account. The privacy of the transaction zk_SNARKS has already been implemented in Ethereum.


    Such a system seems inefficient, and so the team Spherity offers an alternative: P2P streaming payment on the blockchain using channel micropayments µRaiden or technology channels States (generalized state channels). In this case, a charging station with a meter monitors the continuous stream of micro-payments received for electricity and sinhroniziruete counter flows of energy and tokens.

    AKI and Tangle Flash IOTA

    IOTA – a distributed registry architecture which was originally designed for the Internet of Things (IoT) and it lacks payment of a fee, making IOTA an attractive platform for the realization of the stream of payments. Moreover, not so long ago they published a specification for bi-directional payment channels IOTA flash channels – analogue Raiden or Lightning, allowing to carry out instant transfers in the system is not connected to the main Tangle.

    According to the developers IOTA, computer simulation, stream of payments, communication between the electric vehicle and charging station show good results. However, in contrast to smart contracts and payment channels Ethereum, this technology has yet to pass Teechan field testing and auditing of cryptographic models Tangle, as well as testing various models of game theory.

    In favor IOTA is the fact that the architecture of the system initially provides resistance to separation, i.e., for offline P2P transactions do not require intermediaries, similar to Ethereum. In addition to simulations of flowing payments team Elaad and Enexis in the Netherlands, the Bosch Corporation is considering IOTA as the preferred candidate for the creation of a cryptocurrency wallet in electric vehicles and other applications of IoT in the automotive industry.


    Streaming P2P payments based on cryptocurrency microtransactions is a promising method for creating RPF platforms for exchange between the physical and digital assets, but so far it remains the only innovative concept. For its comprehensive implementation of the necessary infrastructure and developed the protocols, which, in turn, are at different stages of development.

    The new method eliminates the greater part of credit risks and remaining intermediaries: it frees the platform from the logic associated with escrow accounts, complex smart contracts, or trust enclaves (Teechan). It is based on a simple principle:

    Leave a Deposit on the main blockchain, and connect it to the system with a cheaper algorithm consensus.

    Such mechanisms are already being developed in many protocols solving the problem of interoperability between different blockchains, such as Cosmos, Interledger, Plasma, Polkadot
    and sydeny.

    In General, P2P streaming (streaming) payments can be characterized as direct P2P transactions with almost zero cost, and absent credit risk. They can be an important element of the 4th industrial revolution, providing OPP between machines and people.

    For purposes of this article, there are two important element of the system of PSE, developed by the company Spherity: «digital doubles» of physical objects – a digital representation of cars and people, and alternative methods blockchain OPP, such as distributed database (DB Bigchain). And if Karsten Plug promises to soon provide a detailed concept of the digital double, the final choice in favor of the blockchain or (semi -) centralised databases will also be an important signal for the industry.

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