Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and Toyota Financial Services Corporation launched a cross-Group virtual organization, Toyota Blockchain Lab, in April 2019, which has moved forward with initiatives for using blockchain technology including, to date, verifying the usefulness of the technology through demonstration trials, and global collaboration with Group companies.
In an era when all things and services will be connected by information, blockchain is expected to be a fundamental technology that supports connecting people and businesses more “openly,” in a manner that provides safety and security.
Going forward, to further pursue possible uses in a wide range of areas, including supply chains, mobility services, and “Woven City” announced on January 7, 2020, and create new value in the future, the accumulation of technical knowledge and promoting solutions for implementation in business, is now necessary. In this regard, Toyota Blockchain Lab will expand collaborations more than ever with various partner companies.
1. Background of Focus on Blockchain Technology
The progress of the IoT has connected various things and services through information and brought greater convenience and efficiency. On the other hand, it has increased the importance of responding to security concerns such as information leakage, tampering, and unauthorized use.
In the automotive industry, during a once-in-a century period of profound transformation, Toyota is aiming to become a “Mobility Company” that provides wide-ranging services related to transportation. In realizing this goal, to promote “making friends” both inside and outside of the Group, it is important to create an environment where customers who use products and services and various businesses that provide them can connect more “openly” under “safety and security.”
With features such as highly tamper-resistant and fault-resistant, blockchain technology can realize secure data sharing between various parties by improving the reliability of information. This technology has the potential to support the creation of friends inside and outside the Group, and as a result, provides more convenient and customized services to customers, business efficiency and improvement, and creating new value that is not bound by existing concepts.
2. Details of Activities to Date
To pursue the possibilities of this blockchain technology and gather momentum for initiatives, a virtual organization, Toyota Blockchain Lab,* was established in April 2019 as a company comprised of six Group companies. As the spark for utilization of the technology, Toyota Blockchain Lab has been examining plans for promising applications for use and promoting demonstration trials while accumulating Group knowledge. It is also engaging in global collaboration with Group companies, including Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development, Inc. (TRI-AD), TOYOTA Connected Corporation, and Toyota Motor North America, Inc., and relationship-building with partner companies.
In the following initiatives focused on customers and vehicles, demonstration trials under specific conditions were completed in November last year, confirming the usefulness of blockchain technology in each use application.
Main Use Applications for Verification
- Customers―increasing convenience through ID sharing and contract digitalization inside and outside of the Group, improvement of personal information management, and utilization of points services
- Vehicles―improvement of various services and creating new services through accumulation and use of all information concerning vehicle life cycles
- Supply chain―improving business processes efficiency and traceability by recording and sharing information on parts manufacturing, shipping, etc.
- Value digitalization―utilization for diversification of financing methods through digitalization of various assets such as vehicles and various rights, and by that means, building medium to long term relationships with customers and investors
* Toyota Blockchain Lab (constituent companies, activity bases, as of March 16, 2020)
Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Financial Services Corporation, Toyota Finance Corporation, Toyota Systems Corporation, Denso Corporation, Toyota Central R&D Labs., Inc.
GINZA SIX 13F 6-10-1 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
Fukoku Seimei Bldg. 17F 2-2-2 Uchisaiwai-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
3. Future Direction
Going forward, Toyota Blockchain Lab will expand its collaborations with various partner companies, further pursue the possibilities of blockchain technology, and accelerate initiatives for business implementation.
Areas of focus will include examination of possible use applications and promoting demonstration trials that include relevant businesses. In addition, with regard to various blockchain platforms around the world, in collaboration with partner companies, we will formulate non-functional evaluation items to accelerate the social implementation of the technology, and accumulate technical knowledge to select a suitable platform for each application.