MOBI and Luxoft: Enabling Self-Sovereign Identity in Mobility
For the past three years I’ve been leading Luxoft’s blockchain practice in the US. Our team has completed dozens of blockchain PoCs and pilot projects with enterprise clients in finance, healthcare, energy, insurance and automotive. (To learn more about blockchain, listen to our recent podcast here!)
As we move these PoC projects into production, we’ve realized they all have a common theme of needing a trusted blockchain identity management solution to be successful. Self-sovereign identity (SSI) has proven to be an ideal choice, because it moves away from siloed systems and provides a portable blockchain digital identity solution that can be applied across any industry. (To dive deeper into self-sovereign identity, be sure to check out our blog here!)
This brings us to the automotive industry, in particular.
Luxoft was an initial member of the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI), joining when the initiative was first announced on May 2, 2018 in Dubai. MOBI’s goal is to use blockchain and related technologies to make mobility safer, greener, cheaper and more accessible, by creating innovative solutions – including but not limited to blockchain identity solutions. Luxoft offers expertise in digital cockpit, autonomous driving and connected mobility, so it was a natural fit to bring our blockchain identity expertise to the automotive industry through MOBI. We wanted to contribute our years of blockchain expertise to help drive mobility standards that were interoperable with what we were seeing across other business sectors.
I eagerly joined the MOBI identity working group, led by Sebastien Henot from Renault and Alan Gordon from Ford, with the group comprised of industry experts and other MOBI technology partners. I came with my self-sovereign identity biases, having integrated Hyperledger Indy into several solutions, but I quickly found I had as much to learn about the automotive industry as I had to share about blockchain-based identity. The core MOBI team, Lucy Hakobyan and Michael Vo, did a fantastic job of keeping us on track and emphasizing openness by not driving specifically toward a solution, but by defining the concepts in general terms and leaving the implementation details open. Sid Masih worked diligently to capture the input from our weekly meetings and craft a document we could present as a standard go-to for vehicle identity.
The MOBI Vehicle Identity (VID) standard leverages the self-sovereign identity approach, using Decentralized Identifiers (DIDs) and verifiable credentials to define a pattern of how a digital birth certificate can be linked to a vehicle’s digital identity. This blockchain identity management model can also be applied to other use cases throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle, such as transferring a title, performing safety inspections or any other credentials associated with the vehicle. The VID standard also provides a foundation for a trusted and secure communication protocol between vehicle uses, traffic networks and other vehicles.
There has already been some great feedback on the standard from the MOBI community, with nothing but enthusiasm for blockchain identity solutions in automotive. The document has just been released to the public, so the next step is getting feedback from the general blockchain and automotive communities on this new blockchain-based identity standard. The MOBI Identity working group will continue to move forward, developing use cases and hopefully a reference implementation in the near future. I hope to see adoption across all automotive manufacturers, so we can start building interoperable and robust mobility solutions.
Todd Gehrke is a blockchain solutions architect at Luxoft, with over 25 years of experience building fault-tolerant distributed systems. Todd helps build innovative enterprise blockchain solutions using Hyperledger, Corda, Ethereum, and Ripple. He also has broad experience in OpenStack, private cloud, and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).