Decentralised systems buck data-sharing trend


car model application. This was done using a complex machine learning network to enable a four-door sedan Porsche Panamera to act as the software client independently of backend database support, with overall control managed by the driver through a blockchain application, a type of distributed ledger technology. XAIN successfully tested their

Until the first half of 2018 automotive manufacturers struggled to integrate a

smartphone-based system into their new car models. Communication between an external network and a car would only work if the manufacturer’s central database was always online. However, systems that increase trust and remove the concept of third parties within a network, known as distributed ledger technologies, are growing at a fast pace. This is disrupting centralised data management approaches, both at a commercial and academic level. In July at the international exhibition

for global microelectronics industries: SEMICON West in San Francisco, US, analysts touted that the automotive sector – particularly self-driving cars, in addition to artificial intelligence and high-powered computing – is driving the next boom in semiconductors. Car chips, for example, use the same amount of silicon as five to 15 iPhones. In addition to a rise in computational demand, players in the decentralised data movement are working in partnerships to solve problems and explore opportunities. This year XAIN, based near Berlin in Germany, solved trust between a database of its automotive client Porsche and its

26 Scientific Computing World October/November 2018

technology to remotely open and close the Panamera up to six times faster than before (1.6 seconds). ‘However, we need to differentiate here that other automotive manufacturers were previously integrating a blockchain wallet into a car; which only stores private [cryptographic] keys so that the car can, for example, pursue payments,’ said Leif-Nissen Lundbæk, CEO, chairman and co-founder of XAIN. ‘In our case, we integrated a full client in a car that also verifies all communication, so that the blockchain is not part of the backend system, but actually the car itself is the blockchain.’ His work focuses on AI algorithms for distributed cryptographic systems. In fact, XAIN originated as a spin-off from his academic work at Oxford University and Imperial College London. His firm’s mission is an eXpandable

Artificial Intelligence Network (XAIN), using blockchain systems as an open or permission-based system that enables connectivity to Internet-connected devices. These include electronic control units (ECU) in cars to control electrical systems or subsystems. XAIN cooperates with semiconductors and integrates them with automotive microcontrollers from other vendors. Smart contracts are used by the

network to bypass the need for middlemen between permitted parties within the network, saving time. It algorithmically decides on the contents of the next ‘block’ in the blockchain with a proprietary-created consensus mechanism called a ‘Proof of Kernel Work’ (PoKW). Only specific users or drivers are given rights to the car for opening or locking the doors or starting the engine. XAIN’s network runs on the Ethereum

Blockchain, an open-source distributed computing platform. Its uses range from decentralised video streaming services to helping distribute food vouchers and mobile banking in third world countries. ‘Here security and incentivisation are

really the key points. The most powerful technique are open consensus methods, that protect from changes, while also allowing for incentivising all sorts of processes, ranging from the consensus itself to standardisation processes,’ said Lundbæk. The key layer of XAIN’s novel approach is the distributed ledger technology or DLT protocol. It enables a special form of electronic data processing and storage. Importantly, a DLT is a database that exists across several locations, nodes

“We integrated a full client in a car that also verifies all communication, so that the blockchain is not part of the backend system, but actually the car itself is the blockchain”

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