Though hard to associate Ford with cryptocurrencies, the automotive giant has just filed a patent for a cryptocurrency which enables the communication among the cars.
The patent called “Vehicle-to-vehicle cooperation to marshal traffic” and submitted on Tuesday, describes several ways in which cars would be able to transfer signals to one another in a transactional manner.
The patent document began describing a “cooperative adaptive cruise control” that would automatically control acceleration and deceleration in high-speed situations to minimize congestion between vehicles.
However, the system itself is the most interesting part:
“This system would temporarily allow for particular cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as ‘consumer vehicles’) to drive at higher speeds in less-occupied lanes of traffic and also to merge and pass freely when needed. Other participating cooperative vehicles (sometimes referred to as ‘merchant vehicles’) voluntarily occupy slower lanes of traffic to [facilitate] the consumer vehicle to merge into their lanes and pass as needed.”
Simply put, the system allows drivers to sell their time by choosing to move to a slower lane, accepting payment from vehicles that do not want to overtake them.
Ford’s idea would operate through a system called “Cooperatively Managed Merge and Pass” (CMMP) functioning as a token.
“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,” the patent application explains.
Nevertheless, the document does not explain how this system could disincentive would-be merchants from exporting buyers by clogging up lanes and only allowing passage after payment.
The idea of Ibinex founder Simon Grunfeld presented in an interview in late November is similar to this idea of inter-vehicle transactions. The main difference is that Grunfeld’s idea focuses on autonomous vehicles in an intersection, while Ford’s system is designed more for vehicles on a highway.
The involvement of Ford in this particular specification may be evidence that in the near future vehicles that communicate through transactions, perhaps making personal transportation more fluid.